5 ways to improve your sleep
Tips for improving sleep
Struggling to get that all-important shuteye? The importance of having a good night’s sleep each and every night cannot be overlooked. In the hectic and fast-paced world we live in today it can be hard to settle down in the evening and look forward to a good night’s sleep – especially with the number of round-the-clock home entertainment opportunities available now too. People are going to bed later and getting up for work feeling exhausted and it’s common for some people to wake up frequently throughout the night. But common doesn’t mean normal.
In the context of losing fat and improving health in general, it’s important to get good night’s rest. This, according to Sportspace Personal Trainer, Dan Behr, means falling asleep at a reasonable time and waking up 7- 9 hours later with no disruption.
Here are Dan’s top 5 tips on how to get a good kip each and every night:
1. Stop looking at your phone, laptop, or TV in bed
It’s a sad reality that for many of us it’s become habit to use our phone, laptop or watch TV whilst lying in bed (what ever happened to reading a good book?!). Unfortunately, these devices emit something known as ‘blue light’ which according research, has been shown to suppress the production of the sleep hormone Melatonin. Melatonin is naturally released by the body in the evening to help us feel relaxed and prepare us for sleep and so if you’re not getting enough of it there’s a pretty slim chance you’ll be ready to drift off into slumber come 10pm. Bare this mind next time you want to check social media in bed!
2. Make your bedroom as dark as possible
This includes the red standby light on your TV. If you can also dim the light given off by your alarm clock then do so. Ideally, you shouldn’t be able to see your hand in front of you face. The sleep hormone melatonin is affected by light, a hormone essential for a good night’s sleep. Keep a torch next to your bed if you need to get up during the night.
3. Eat carbohydrates in the evening
It’s a myth that eating carbohydrates after 6pm causes fat gain – total calorie intake for the day will determine your fat loss/gain. Ever eaten a bowl of pasta and wondered why you feel tired an hour or more later? Or felt stressed and reached for something sweet instead of a bowl of brussel sprouts? That’s because eating carbohydrates calms us and stimulates the production of serotonin, a hormone with a number of roles, including making us feel relaxed. The more relaxed you feel, the easier it’ll be for you to drift off to sleep. Try not to eat too close to sleep though.
4. Buy an alarm clock that mimics sunrise and sunset
When going to sleep at night, you want your body to believe that it is in tune with natural rise and fall of sunlight - the way it used to be many years ago. These alarm clocks gradually make your room darker at night by reducing the light they emit, helping the natural release of melatonin. You can also set them to gradually emit light (and suppress melatonin) as you approach waking in the morning so that you don’t feel as tired when you get up. Alarms like this are a great way of aiding the natural awakening/sleeping process and will stop you having to wake up in a dark room with an alarm clock booming in your ear - happy days!
5. Write down 10 things you are grateful for
This is useful if you are feeling stressed or can’t relax. All you need is a pen and some paper. You don’t have to write whole paragraphs, but do think about it for a while before listing all 10. Every sentence should begin “ I am grateful for..”. Not only is this extremely calming for the mind, but it will help you to view the world more positively and can stop worrying/stressful thoughts entering your head, leading to more peaceful sleep.
So there you have it, our top 5 tips for a better sleep! Have some tips of your own you’d like to share? Head over to our Facebook and Twitter channels and get involved in the conversation. Or, for more articles like this, see our blog homepage.