If you’re struggling to get to sleep, stay asleep or wake up feeling refreshed you may need to consider making some changes to your daily routine. While we’ve all heard about limiting caffeine and alcohol, drinking chamomile tea or counting sheep the unconventional tips below may keep you sleeping soundly ’til morning.
1. Sleep Naked
As the body produces melatonin (that all important sleep hormone) it naturally cools down. When you sleep with heavy PJ’s, your favourite t-shirt or heavy blankets the body has a difficult time lowering your temperature, which can disrupt sleep quality. Try sleeping naked instead using good quality, comfortable sheets which can help keep you cool which is widely known to make for better sleep.
2. Keep One Foot Out From Under The Covers
Do you have a tendency of keeping one foot out from under the covers? Natalie Dautovitch, a spokesperson for the National Sleep Foundation and a psychology professor at the University of Alabama, said there’s good reason for this. As mentioned above, temperature is very important to sleep. Our hands and feet “contain specialised vascular structures that help with heat loss,” she says. “Sticking your foot out could bring you to a more restorative sleep.”
3. Ditch the Blues
Your circadian rhythm is strongly signalled by light. The bright light of the morning signals the body to produces certain hormones to wake us up in preparation for the day. The theory is that the blue light from things like TV’s, smart-phones tablets and computers inhibit the production of melatonin (our sleep hormone) effectively signalling to the body that it’s still daytime. Limiting your exposure to blue light in the evening is key to preparing the body for sleep. Ideally, you would turn off all screens one to two hours before you’d like to sleep or work to block out blue light, which you can learn more about here.
4. Go Bananas at Bedtime
If you’re the type that pops a banana into your smoothie each morning to get your day started, maybe also consider munching on one at night. Bananas are a great source of potassium and magnesium, which allow your body’s muscles to relax. Bananas also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps your body to produce serotonin that aids your body to regulate sleep. They are also a good source of carbohydrates that can provide fuel as we sleep.
5. Hide the Clock
Do you frequently wake during the night only to check the time? Constantly checking the time increases your stress, making it harder to turn down the dial on your nervous system and fall asleep. It’s also common for those who wake during the night, look at the clock and start calculating, to develop a routine and start doing this every night. So take it out of the room entirely or turn it around if you need to awake to an alarm.