Tired of tossing and turning all night? If you’re someone who struggles to sleep, you’re not alone. Here are some helpful tricks to ensure you’re getting your full 8 hours night after night
According to recent statistics, almost 60 per cent of Australia’s population suffer with insomnia or some form of sleep deprivation, with many admitting to getting just five or six hours a night.
Having a bad night’s sleep doesn’t just make you feel tired and groggy, it can also have a resounding effect on mental and physical health, affecting everything from mood, concentration and diet, and in some severe long-term cases, a number of serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Sleeping well is vital to our health and wellbeing, and when we don’t get enough, it can really start to take its toll.
But sometimes going to bed earlier isn’t always enough to stop your mind from wandering and keeping you wide awake. If you go to bed stressed and anxious, it can often take hours to relax and unwind. Getting those precious eight hours isn’t always as simple as it sounds.
So if you’re determined to kick those sleepless nights to the curb, we’ve put together eight genius tips that are guaranteed to help you snooze as soon as your head hits the pillow. From changing your diet to having sex, try these simple tricks to help get your sleeping habits back on track…
8 RITUALS TO GUARANTEE A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
Create a relaxing environment
Create a calming, quiet environment that’s free of clutter. Your bedroom should be a soothing space where you can relax and unwind, so make sure TVs, phones and computers are kept out of sight. Unnatural lights from smartphones and computers will disrupt your natural sleep cycle, so it’s best to keep them in another room if you’re trying to get an early night. Instead, introduce soft lighting with candles and dimmers, so you’ll feel relaxed as soon as you walk into the room, and try and keep your room as cool and dark as possible. If it’s too hot, you’re going to find it difficult to relax. Invest in an electric fan; that way you can regulate your room and your body temperature. Guarantee you’ll find yourself drifting on in no time.
Exercise at the right times
Exercising throughout the day will wear you out and make you tired come bedtime, but try to keep your workouts to the morning, afternoon or early evening. If you start doing squat thrusts before you jump into bed you’ll end up wired, and find it difficult to drift off straight away. A gentle walk in the afternoon will help you relax and get the endorphins flowing. But if you do want to exercise and unwind before bed, try gentle yoga, meditation or breathing techniques instead. This will calm your mind and tell your body it’s time to hit the hay.
Sex boosts oxytocin (a hormone that makes you feel connected to your partner) and lowers cortisol (a stress-related hormone), so when it will help you feel less stressed and more relaxed. Having an orgasm also releases a hormone called prolactin, which makes you feel relaxed and sleepy — the perfect remedy for a restful night’s sleep.
There’s an added bonus for women too — sex boosts estrogen levels, enhancing your REM stage and allowing for a deeper slumber.
Change your diet
We all know that stress and caffeine can leave you tossing and turning, but even if you avoid the common culprits – coffee, alcohol, sugar – there are foods (and a few bad habits) that you might not be aware of that can stop you from drifting off.
If you’re really struggling with sleep, it’s best to avoid greasy, fatty foods as they’re difficult to digest. Spicy foods can make it harder for your body to regulate temperature — any change in heat means you could wake up during the night. Cheese contains high levels of the amino acid tyramine, which causes the brain to feel more alert, whilst coffee and alcohol act as stimulants and stop you from falling into a deep sleep. It can also make you dehydrated, so you’ll wake up in the night craving water. Smoking is also another stimulant, so if you smoke before bed, the harder it will be to sleep soundly through the night.
If you’re still struggling, try a herbal sleep remedy such as melatonin and indulge in some herbal sleep-inducing teas.
Start a night-time ritual
To help you drift off quicker, create a relaxing – and regular – bedtime routine. Whether it’s reading a book, having a bath, practising yoga, meditating or listening to some soothing music, start introducing things into your evening that will help you switch off and remind your body that it’s time for bed soon.
Try these simple mindfulness techniques to help you get started
Have a regular sleep pattern
Try to go to bed at around the same time every evening and get up at around the same time every morning. Your body will soon get used to the routine, and it’s a good way to make sure you’re getting your full seven or eight hours per night.
Buy a decent bed
The golden rule to getting a good night’s rest is making sure your bed is super cosy and comfortable. Invest in a decent mattress, breathable duvet (so you won’t get too hot during the warmer seasons) and crisp cotton sheets. Nothing beats falling into a bed of perfectly plumped cushions, lavish linens and snuggly woollen throws. The ultimate snooze fest.