Having a perfect night’s sleep every single night is simply not possible. You wouldn’t be human not to be affected by all that’s going on around you. But, these 13 best sleep tips will help you to achieve better sleep most nights.
It’s reported that poor quality sleep affects millions of Australians. And, if you’re reading this, you’re probably one of those people who struggle to feel refreshed in the morning.
I’m not the best sleeper. I go through stages where I can sleep really well for months, Then, a bout of insomnia creeps in. Waking up after an hour or two to watch the hours slowly tick by. Luckily these patches aren’t often. But when they do occur, I feel frustrated.
How much sleep do you need?
Many numbers have been bandied about on how many hours sleep you need for good health. But, the science is still not clear. Some of us can function on less than the commonly prescribed eight hours. Others can’t.
However, there’s one thing that everyone craves – and, that’s the quality of sleep.
What’s keeping you awake?
- a busy mind that won’t shut down
- blood sugar issues that wake you because you’re hungry
- anxiety can wake you up in the early hours because your body gives you a flush of adrenaline
- a full bladder
- stressful or traumatic events where worry takes over
- babies and young children that wake through the night
- ongoing pain
- caring for someone who needs regular attention.
To read more about what may be keeping you awake, click here.
We go through varying stages of sleep quality and needs throughout our life:
Babies – need a lot!
Children – need a lot but begin to learn how to defy it
Teenagers – seem to need so much more, especially when you want them to do something useful
Parents – especially new parents need sleep, but lack the opportunity
Empty Nesters – at last! You find that sleeping time is available, but quality is poor
Seniors – possibly sleep too much in recliner chairs, then struggle to sleep when in bed
If low quality sleep is impacting your energy and your life, then now’s the time to address it.
Below are 13 of the best tips and tricks to reset your sleep habits.
Choose one, or a few and implement them daily (or nightly).
13 best sleep tips:
1. Routine (aka a bedtime ritual)
Following a relaxing bedtime ritual can really soothe your nervous system. It gives your body the signals to prepare to sleep. Spend 30 minutes to an hour before bed doing the same things in the same order each night. It helps to write down your routine at first until it’s a regular habit. You need to engage in quiet, calming activities right before bed. Try light reading, journaling, gentle stretching, meditation. Bright lights and noise will interfere with your brain winding down and preparing it for sleep.
2. Stick to a time schedule
Set up a time schedule that your body gets to know and love. Go to bed and get up at roughly the same time every day, regardless of the sleep you had the night before or whether it’s the weekend. Maintaining a consistent sleep-wake cycle helps to regulate your circadian rhythm (or body clock).
3. Bedroom temperature
Keep your bedroom to a consistently cool temperature of 17-20 degrees C. Your core body temperature needs to drop a degree or two to go to sleep and remain asleep overnight. This ensures better quality sleep as well. So, no electric blankets and ensure bed covers are warm but not too heating. Sleeping with a slightly opened window is excellent for better sleep too.
4. Electronic interference
Avoid electronic devices such as TVs, laptops or phones in the bedroom at least 30 minutes before going into the bedroom. The artificial blue light from screens is very disturbing to your brain, signalling that it’s still daytime. This suppresses your sleep inducing hormone melatonin making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
5. Lower artificial lights
Artificial light from lamps, overhead lights and screens, influences your internal clocks (circadian rhythms) that are supposed to align with night and day. Turn down the lights, replace globes with softer lights and draw the curtains when the sun goes down.
6. Increase natural light during the day
Expose yourself to as much natural light during the say as you can. It can really help to go outside in the early morning sunlight on waking up and to be outside at sunset. Both these times of day signal your body to wake up or go to sleep.
7. Physical activity
Moving your body every day helps to regulate sleep patterns. You will fall asleep faster and experience deeper, more restful sleep. Aim for 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise every day. But, best to avoid exercising in the 2-3 hours before bed as this increases your heart rate and body temperature (see tip #3).
8. Eating and drinking
Avoid big or spicy meals at night which contribute to indigestion. And, make sure you have finished your evening meal at least 2 hours before bed. Keep in mind that alcohol, caffeine and sugar are stimulants and disturb your circadian rhythm, so best to avoid after you finish your dinner. Instead, try a calming herbal tea as part of your bedtime ritual (see tip #1). Make sure you eat a good portion of protein and healthy fats for your evening meal as you body can wake you around 2am with blood sugar dysregulation.
9. Manage pain and inflammation
Sore joints, pain, inflammation and other reasons for your body not being comfortable can disturb sleep and lower its quality. Take measure to address those issues.
10. Restore good microbes
Did you know that microbial imbalance (called dysbiosis) in your gut can cause a disruption to your sleep/wake cycle and lead to poor quality sleep. If you are experiencing digestive issues, time to get sorted.
11. Manage you stress
Let’s face it, feeling a high level of stress and anxiety will keep you awake, often mulling, ruminating and worrying. If this is something that you relate to, please seek help to manage your stress levels for better quality sleep.
Different stages in our reproductive lives can often cause sleep disruptions, especially during perimenopause and beyond. You can get help for these symptoms, so don’t delay because your sleep is so important.
13. Herbal support
Herbal medicine can support your sleep in many ways. Certain herbs like valerian, chamomile, lavender, lemon balm and zizyphus can help get you off to sleep. While other herbs such as oats seed, hops, passionflower and kava can help with sleep maintenance. You can use herbal teas, essential oils or herbal extracts in tablet or liquid form. It’s always best to seek professional advice when using herbs and essential oils for specific health conditions.
And remember, you can’t change from poor sleep patterns to consistently good sleep overnight. You need to implement whatever changes you need and repeat every single night until you have created better sleep habits.
Further reading – find out what might be keeping you awake here
I can help with sleep issues for better health. Here’s how:
- Book in for a consultation (in Clinic, Zoom or over the phone) to really drill down on what’s keeping you awake – Click here
- Eating the right foods for your body can help restore microbiome and sleep patterns – Click here
- Grab a copy of my Rebuild Your Life Journal for 5 simple daily journal prompts to ground you and get those habits and routines important for a good night’s sleep – it’s your daily reset button – Click here
- Not sure what you need? Book in for a 20 minute FREE discovery call chat with me – Click here
- Sign up for my Newsletter for more tips – Click here
With you health in mind,