Sleep better tips to wake up fresh

How to sleep better every night

Sleep deeper or longer – tonight, and every night – with these seven sleep-better tips

There are 168 hours in each week. Once you take out about three hours of exercise and, say, 10 hours for cooking and eating, that leaves 155 hours. That’s a lot of time! The point is that while exercising and eating well have a big contribution on how good you look and feel, what you do in those other 155 hours each week also has a huge impact on the quality of your life.

Take sleep. Getting enough quality sleep is hugely important to your mental and physical health. Even a single night of poor sleep drastically affects how you think, feel, look and perform the next day.

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There’s supposed to be something very impressive about getting by with very little sleep. We hear highly successful people who get by with only four or five hours a night described as “superhuman”.

But there is nothing big or clever about it. For people who are not natural “short-sleepers” (thought to be just 2% of the population), poor and disturbed sleep is a serious problem. Indeed, a recent UK poll found that only 50% of us are happy with the amount of sleep we get.

Poor sleep has serious consequences for your physical health. It’s associated with increased risk of obesity and heart disease, and bad for your mental health. It increases the risk of depression and mood disorders. And it impairs decision making, concentration, communication and language skills, among many other problems.

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How to sleep better

Addressing any sleep issues and improving your sleep quality is one of the most important things you can do for better brain health and better overall health and happiness. Here’s how you can sleep deeper for longer tonight.

Keep cool to sleep sounder

A reduction in body temperature is a physiological indicator that it’s nearly time for sleep. So if your room or bed is very hot, it makes it far harder to fall asleep and then stay asleep. Have the right tog duvet for the season and use a quiet fan if you need it. Taking a warm bath an hour before bed can also promote the onset of sleep because your body starts cooling down once you step out of the bath.

Get some sun for more sleep

Exposure to bright, natural light anchors your daily sleep/wake cycle in to a healthy rhythm. Try to get out and spend at least 30 minutes in daylight in the morning or take a half-hour walk after lunch.

Hack your body clock to fall asleep faster

You may have heard of the circadian rhythm, which is the scientific name for your 24-hour body clock, but what about the ultradian rhythm? This is a 90-minute cycle that repeats throughout the day, and tracking yours can help you identify the best time for you to go to bed.

The ultradian rhythm is remarkably consistent and you can track it by timing your yawns. At the peak of the wave you’re at your most alert and it’s the perfect time to tackle your to-do list, but 45 minutes later you’re at the trough of the wave and most likely to yawn. So, if you yawn around 8:30pm but it’s too early to go to bed, you know you’re likely to be most sleepy again at 10pm and then 11:30pm. You can then make sure you’re in bed by 9:50pm or 11:20pm to get to sleep as quickly as possible.

Turn off your phone to feel sleepy

Smartphones, tablets and computer screens emit blue light, which is the same wavelength as dawn light, and so is interpreted by your brain as a sign that it’s take time wake up, be alert and get active. Try to avoid using your devices for at least an hour before bed or, at the very least, turn on your devices’ night-time setting to shift from blue light to red light.

Get blackout curtains for a dark bedroom

Make sure the room is as dark and quiet as possible and use an eye mask, blackout curtains and ear plugs if you live in or near a noisy environment. Remember that every bit of light or sound pollution can affect your ability to fall asleep and sleep soundly.

Drink less alcohol before bed

Although alcohol promotes feelings of tiredness and can help you fall asleep, it disturbs your sleep quality by preventing your brain from entering the deeper, restorative phases of sleep. Try not to drink too much booze before going to bed, and cut back on all drinks: small-hours trips to the loo are very detrimental to a good night’s sleep.

Have more downtime each day

There is no magic number to how much sleep you need. The right amount is enough for you not to feel excessively sleepy during the day. That might be seven hours or nine; we all have different sleep needs. Work out how much you think you need then focus on getting that amount every night.

How to sleep better tonight!

Good-quality sleep is essential to the health of your brain and body. The link between poor sleep and mood problems, weight gain, diabetes, severe depression and mental illness is clear. Put in the effort to improve your night-time routine and you should improve your physical health, energy, mood and well-being – not just this week or this month, but for years to come!

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