Improve your sleep with these tips
Give yourself at least 30 minutes of gadget-free transition time before going to bed or make your bedroom a technology-free zone. Try to keep your electronic devices outside the bedroom.
They emit blue light. Blue light reduces the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle rhythm. This is particularly important for phones and tablets as the screens are also very bright and you hold them close to your face. Suppressing melatonin makes it harder to fall asleep and makes it harder to wake up in the morning.
They keep your brain alert. By keeping your mind engaged, technology can trick your brain into thinking it needs to stay awake. And many activities like watching something exciting or reading a negative email can make it harder to relax. After spending all day with technology, your mind needs time to relax and unwind.
They wake you up. Keeping a mobile within reach can still disturb slumber, thanks to the chimes of late night texts, emails, calls, or calendar reminders.
- Aim for at least 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night
- Try to go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every day – routine will encourage good quality sleep
- Avoid naps during the day to ensure that you are tired at bedtime
- Make sure you are exposed to bright light and sun during the day while you are awake, this will encourage you to feel sleepy at the same time every night
- Reduce your activity before going to bed by not exercising at least 3 hours before going to bed
- You may like to read or listen to soft music for 15 minutes before bedtime
- Exercise in the morning or early afternoon can encourage a healthy sleep routine. Three to five periods of exercise per week (such as a 30-minute daytime walk) are recommended
- Try to go to bed only when you are sleepy – this will reduce the amount of time you are awake in bed
- Try not to become stressed if you feel you are not getting enough sleep
- Remember that sleep will come eventually, and try to relax
- Avoid looking at the clock while in bed. If you can’t get to sleep or get back to sleep for an extended period, get out of bed and do something boring in very dim light, or sit and relax in the dark until you are sleepy
- Don’t watch television in bed – your body needs to be accustomed to using the bed for sleeping
- If you like to read in bed to encourage sleep, use a 15 watt bulb or less
- Keep your bedroom at a cool, comfortable temperature
- Maintain a dark and quiet sleeping environment
- If you have problems with noise in your environment, try listening to soft relaxing music or a CD of nature sounds, or other sleep/relaxation recordings
- Avoid bright light around the house before bed – this gives cues to your brain that it is time to wake up
- Use dimmer switches in living rooms and bathrooms before bed, but maximise the light around your house for your morning routine
- Don’t go to bed hungry – an empty stomach can interfere with sleep. A light healthy snack before bed is OK, but don’t eat a heavy meal before bed. A cup of warm milk or herbal tea (caffeine-free) can help to induce sleep
- Avoid consuming alcohol for at least 4 hours before going to bed. It can seem to help you fall asleep but it also causes you to wake up during the night, leading to a disrupted sleep
- Caffeine and tobacco are both stimulants – avoid caffeine and smoking 4 hours before going to bed
- Don’t smoke or consume caffeine during your sleeping hours