· Develop and maintain a sleep/wake schedule – wake up at the same time each day (or at least within an hour) – even if you’re tired – this will improve sleep effectiveness and help curtail drowsiness in the daytime: lying in will knock the schedule out of kilter.
· No caffeine within 4 -5 hours of your bed time – for obvious reasons.
· Try to finish eating 2 hours before bed time to allow time for digestion and allow for any potential rise in energy caused by the food to peak and fall again.
· DO NOT STARE AT YOUR PHONE IN BED – or at least turn it onto night mode: this changes the underlying tone of your phone screen which is usually blue light – the same as the sun, which tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime and therefore delays your circadian rhythm (body clock).
· Switch the TV off – the same as above goes for televisions, the light keeps you awake – I know it’s a tricky one but consider for swapping TV for a podcast or 2 for an hour before bed while you stretch or…
· Read a book – this can help use up your last bits of energy and get your eyes nice and heavy and sleepy.
· Exercise – we know that keeping your body active and mobile helps has a plethora of benefits, one of those being improved sleep quality. However, don’t exercise too close to bedtime as this gets your body hyped up and can cause difficulty winding down. Gentle stretching or yoga can help you wind down within your hour before bed though.
· Practice mindfulness, sometimes it’s hard to switch off the internal chatter and it can keep us up and deprive us of sleep, mindfulness is a powerful tool with which to quieten and calm the mind, making drifting off far easier.
· A hot bath about an hour before bed – when we sleep, our core body temperature drops. Having a hot bath an hour before will trigger a bodily response of trying to cool you after the hot bath, inducing a temperature drop, simulating your body’s natural wind-down process.
· Lavender – candles, diffusers, sleep balm, pillow spray – it comes in many forms and it is well known for its sleep benefits, among others.
· Bed time tea – sounds weird, I know – but hear me out. There are a bunch of herbal teas available born of a concoction of various herbs and flowers, etc., such as lavender, chamomile, valerian root, nutmeg, cinnamon – the list goes on. But we all know how nice it is to have a hot drink before bed, not only psychologically because of the ‘cosy-factor’ but also the ingredients which are known to be calming and soothing, helping you drift off and catch those zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…..