Make your room as dark as possible
Are street lights keeping you awake? If so, it's time to get a blackout blind or curtains. Too much light, while you're trying to sleep, will interfere with melatonin production, the hormone which makes you sleepy. Make sure any lights in the room are off or very dim. Think digital clocks, nightlights, mobile phone screens, and TVs. You can always wear an eye mask if you need to. When you need to sleep, it's good to be in the dark.
Get exercising, use up your energy!
As well as making you tired physically, regular exercise is excellent for helping you get to sleep. It helps you reach the most restorative phase of sleep, which is deeper. Exercise is one of the recommendations for people suffering from sleep disorders like insomnia. Understandably, we aren't getting as much, but make that extra effort if sleep is impacted.
Eat your heavy meals long before you hit the sack
Have you noticed how uncomfortable it can be to lie down on a full stomach? Your stomach works harder after a big meal, gets your heart rate going, and keeps you awake. You may even feel a bit sick, and none of us wants that.
Solutions are eating a big main meal at midday, like the Swiss whose evening meals are lighter. They have things like bread with honey, jam, cheese, and meats. If you want a heavy dinner, do it at least two or three hours before bed. That'll give your stomach acid the time it needs to digest the meal before you lie down.
Avoid the caffeine and alcohol before bed
Drinks that get your heart going aren't what you want before bed. Instead of coffee or black tea, try chamomile tea or a warm milky drink. Decaf tea and coffee still contain caffeine, so steer clear of these too.
If you think an alcoholic nightcap or two helps you sleep, then think again! Although it can have a sleepy effect, studies show that drinking alcohol before bed stimulates you more, compared to the rest of the day. It also reduces how long you're in a deeper sleep for – the most restorative stage – meaning you'll benefit less from that night's sleep.
No more looking at screens before you sleep
Do you look at your mobile straight before going to sleep? We're guilty of that. A quick look at social media because anything could be happening, right? The blue light from your phone, TV, and computer screen affects the production of melatonin, which makes it harder for you to fall asleep.
There's the option of downloading an app that filters the blue light. But better still, in our opinion, is to read a book or magazine before bed instead.
There's a disturbance in the sleep: noises
Snoring partner or noisy neighbour, they're here to disrupt your sleep. The fix? Earplugs. Another area you may not have thought about is the flooring. Carpet in your bedroom and things like cushions and chairs can help absorb sound, helping you get a better night's sleep. Dogs' claws can make a loud sound on hard flooring too – with carpet, blissful silence.
Just lie there and be cool, really cool
When you fall asleep, your body temperature drops. Having a cooler room than usual can help trigger sleep. Opening a window and letting some fresh air in is also a winner, not only does it cool you down at night, it can help you feel ready to get up in the morning as well.
Take time to unwind
If you've been rushing around or having a stressful day, which isn't uncommon right now, take some time to unwind. Take a moment to get in the mood for sleep. Try to read, rest your mind, meditate, try some mindful movement, write down things you need to remember for the next morning. Overworking can make your mind 'buzz' so make sure you get enough breaks throughout your day and get outside for a walk if you can.
Make your bedroom sleep-friendly
Your bedroom is obviously important. It's where you actually sleep. So it's got to be right. Start by removing anything you associate with stress. Everything. Things like exercise equipment and your laptop or bag you were using for work. Get a dimmable light switch. It'll create a more ambient light – you don't want a bright, white light flooding the room while you're trying to get ready for bed! Use soft lighting and calming colours, it can make all the difference. Finally, a comfy mattress. It'll give you that night's sleep you've been looking for. It'll also help you avoid back pain or some allergies, so you can fall asleep easier.