There’s no denying the health benefits of sleeping well and sleeping for longer. Not getting enough sleep at night can affect our mood and our wellbeing. It can make our skin look dull and tired, and even be responsible for weight gain.
Unfortunately, many of us find it difficult to doze off or we suffer from interrupted sleep patterns that mean that we don’t sleep for as long as we need to. Even getting one extra hour each night can make a big difference, improving our energy levels and helping us feel more refreshed.
There are things we can do that can help us fall asleep and stay asleep, but just remember that it might take some time as we slowly retrain our minds and our bodies to sleep better, for longer.
Increase your exercise levels
It’s been proven that exercising at least 3-4 times a week (although not last thing at night) can improve our sleep patterns and noticeably increase the time we spend in deep sleep. Deep sleep is when our heart rate and brain waves slow down – and it’s this kind of sleep that restores our energy, regenerates our cells and helps to improve our memory and brain function.
Watch what you eat
Don’t eat your evening meal too late at night and avoid caffeine and too much fluid in the evenings. While many of us think that alcohol relaxes us and helps us to sleep, the evidence is that it can have the opposite effect, so try to have several nights off during the week, or cut it out altogether.
Reduce your screen time
Even watching TV just before bed can have a negative impact on our sleep pattern. It can make it harder to fall asleep and reduce the quality of the sleep we do get. Blue light from a phone or laptop actually suppresses melatonin, a natural hormone that tells the body to sleep. Try not to look at a screen for at least an hour or two before bedtime and pick up a book. It’s more relaxing and promotes sleep rather than interfering with it.
Stick to a routine
Going to bed at the same time every night really does help. It regulates the body’s internal clock which helps us to fall asleep faster and enjoy a better quality of sleep. Irregular sleeping patterns can alter our circadian rhythm functions and our levels of melatonin, the hormone that tells our brain to fall asleep.
Cut out the light
Any kind of artificial light can interfere with our ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Blue light – the light that’s emitted from phones and laptops – is particularly invasive. Turn devices off, face alarm clocks to the wall, invest in some black-out curtains and wear a silk sleep mask to block out any glimmer of light. It’ll help you relax and regenerate your skin while you sleep.
Regulate your temperature
Body and bedroom temperature can have a huge effect on our sleep quality. In fact, it can affect our sleep even more than external noise. Sleeping on silk can help to regulate our temperature, keeping us cool in the summer and warm and cosy in the winter. It can also give us a more relaxing sleep experience because it stops us from tossing and turning as we get too hot.
Investing in a new mattress, changing your pillows and replacing your bedding can promote a much better night’s sleep. Although it’s more expensive than cotton, switching to silk bedding can have a marked effect on how you sleep and as a result, how you feel in the mornings. It’s also great for your hair and your skin. Take a look at the benefits of silk.