Ok, so it’s official, summer is over and autumn is here. You may be missing the hot weather and the long evenings but it’s not all bad news. At 2am on the 30th October the clocks go back an hour which means we have a whole 60 minutes extra in the day. Perhaps you’ll read a few chapters of that book you’ve been meaning to finish? Maybe you’ll give the oven a clean? Or you could do a workout?
What will we be doing…? Getting that all important extra hour of sleep. We think that recharging our bodies and minds is the best way we can use the time.
If you think that getting some additional shut eye is the best use of the time, then our tips below are for you.
10 simple ways to help you fall asleep and stay asleep!
1. Lower the temperature
Your body temperature changes as you fall asleep. Your body cools down when you lie down and warms up when you get up.
If your room is too warm, you might have a hard time falling asleep. Setting your thermostat to a cool temperature between (16–20°C) could help. Individual preferences will vary, so find the temperature that works best for you.
Taking a warm bath or shower could also help speed up the body’s temperature changes. As your body cools down afterward, this can send a signal to your brain to go to sleep.
2. Use the 4-7-8 breathing method
The “4-7-8” method that Dr. Andrew Weil developed is a simple but powerful breathing method that promotes calmness and relaxation. It might also help you unwind before bed.
It’s based on breath control techniques learned from yoga, and it consists of a breathing pattern that relaxes the nervous system. It can be practised any time you feel anxious or stressed.
Here are the steps:
- First, place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth.
- Exhale completely through your mouth and make a “whoosh” sound.
- Close your mouth, and inhale through your nose while mentally counting to 4.
- Hold your breath, and mentally count to 7.
- Open your mouth and exhale completely, making a “whoosh” sound and mentally counting to 8.
- Repeat this cycle at least three more times.
This technique can relax you and help you fall asleep quickly.
3. Get on a schedule
Many people find that setting a sleep schedule helps them fall asleep easier.
Your body has its own regulatory system called the circadian rhythm. This internal clock cues your body to feel alert during the day but sleepy at night
Waking up and going to bed at the same times each day can help your internal clock keep a regular schedule.
Once your body adjusts to this schedule, it’ll be easier to fall asleep and wake up around the same time every day.
It’s also important to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. This has been shown to be the optimal sleep duration for adults.
Lastly, give yourself 30–45 minutes to wind down in the evening before getting in bed. This allows your body and mind to relax and prepare for sleep.4. Experience both daylight and darkness
Light can influence your body’s internal clock, which regulates sleep and wakefulness.
Irregular light exposure can lead to the disruption of circadian rhythms, making it harder to fall asleep and stay awake.
During the day, exposing your body to bright light tells it to stay alert. Both natural daylight and artificial light, such as the kind emitted from an e-reader, have this effect on your alertness.
At night, darkness promotes feelings of sleepiness. In fact, research shows that darkness boosts the production of melatonin, an essential hormone for sleep. In fact, the body secretes very little melatonin during the day.
Get out and expose your body to sunlight or artificial bright light throughout the day. If possible, use blackout curtains to make your room dark at night.
5. Avoid looking at your clock
It’s normal to wake up in the middle of the night. However, the inability to fall back asleep can ruin a good night’s rest.
People who wake up in the middle of the night often tend to watch the clock and obsess about the fact that they can’t fall back asleep.
Clock-watching is common among people with insomnia. This behaviour may cause anxiety about sleeplessness.
To make matters worse, waking on a regular basis without falling back asleep may cause your body to develop a routine. As a result, you might find yourself waking up in the middle of the night every night.
If possible, it’s best to remove the clock from your room. If you need an alarm in the room, you can turn your clock and avoid watching it when you wake up in the middle of the night.6. Watch what and when you eat
It seems that the food you eat before bed may affect your sleep. For example, research has shown that high-carb meals may be detrimental to a good night’s rest.
If you still want to eat a high-carb meal for dinner, you should eat it at least 4 hours before bed so you have enough time to digest it.7. Listen to relaxing music
Music can significantly improve the quality of sleep. It can even be used to improve chronic sleep disorders, such as insomnia.
If relaxing music isn’t available, blocking all noise could also help you fall asleep faster and promote uninterrupted sleep.
8.Exercise during the day
Physical activity is often considered beneficial to healthy sleep.
Exercise can increase the duration and quality of sleep by boosting the production of serotonin in the brain and decreasing levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
However, it’s important to maintain a moderate-intensity exercise routine and not overdo it. Excessive training has been linked to poor sleep.
The time of the day when you exercise is also critical. To promote better quality sleep, working out early in the morning appears to be better than working out later in the day.9. Get comfortable
A comfortable mattress and bedding can have a remarkable effect on the depth and quality of sleep.
A medium-firm mattress has been shown to positively affect sleep quality and prevent sleep disturbances and muscular discomfort.
The quality of your pillow is also crucial.
It can affect your:
- neck curve
One small study determined that orthopaedic pillows may be better for sleep quality than feather or memory foam pillows.
Additionally, the use of a weighted blanket could reduce body stress and help improve your sleep.
Lastly, the fabric of the clothes you wear to bed can affect how well you sleep. It’s crucial that you choose comfortable clothing made of fabric that helps you keep a pleasant temperature throughout the night. Having more comfortable bedding may make it easier for you to fall — or stay — asleep.10. Turn off all electronics
Using electronic devices late at night is terrible for sleep.
Watching TV, playing video games, using a cell phone, and social networking can make it significantly harder for you to fall — and stay — asleep.
This is partly because electronic devices emit blue light, which has been found to suppress melatonin.
Using these devices also keeps your mind in an active and engaged state.
It’s recommended that you disconnect all electronics and put away computers and cell phones so you can ensure a quiet place, free of distractions.
You’ll be able to fall asleep much faster if you practice good sleep hygiene.
If you need to use your devices late in the evening, at least consider blocking the blue light with eyeglasses or a screen filter.