Not being able to sleep well affects 1 in 3 people and can vary from getting no sleep at all, to broken sleep or waking too early in the morning unable to return to slumber. The effects of insomnia can affect every aspect of our day to day lives, from poor concentration and inability to focus to a less effective immune system, stress and even depression.
There are a few changes that you can make to your home and lifestyle that will help you sleep better, feel better and look forward to the day ahead when you wake in the morning.
1. Only use your bedroom for sleeping
As the name suggests, the bedroom should be a room for your bed and the natural activities it’s used for. Traditionally, we’d never have used our bedrooms for anything other than sleep until electronic devices and modern lifestyles changed that, particularly for teenagers who seem to spend more time stowed away in their room than anywhere else.
The problem is using our bedroom to watch tv and check our smartphone suppresses the release of sleep-promoting melatonin, a natural hormone that uses light to determine our circadian rhythm. Try to stay out of the bedroom as much as you can until you’re ready to sleep.
2. Turn your bedroom into the perfect environment for sleep
Light is an essential factor when it comes to getting a good night’s rest, so creating a comfortable and dark environment is crucial in preventing insomnia. Blackout blinds or curtains are great at reducing light while changing your mattress when it gets uncomfortable ensures your body can relax and slip into sleep easier than when tossing and turning through the night.
3. Create a sleep routine and stick to it
This one can be difficult to get right, but your body relies on a routine to signal when it’s time to start winding down, so going to bed at the same time every day is vital. Having a warm shower in the evening, a milky based drink and reading a book or listening to relaxing music are simple ways of achieving this. Try to avoid blue light from electronic devices and stop using them at least two hours before you plan to sleep.
4. Eat your way to better sleep
Some food and drink prevent us from winding down and getting to sleep, so watching what you have in the evening can lead to better sleep. Avoid caffeine, big meals, spicy food and cheese which can stimulate your body into being more alert. Opt for breakfast type foods instead like bananas, oats and honey to promote sleep instead.