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4 tips to help you sleep better
Sleep; we all need it to function properly – both physically and mentally, but how much or how little each of us gets varies.
Some people drop off as soon as their head hits the pillow and they sleep right through until the alarm. Others lie awake for what feels an age before they drift off to sleep – and even then, it might not be long before they’re awake again.
So, if you’re struggling to sleep, or just want to get the best night’s sleep possible, what should you do?
Our Marketing Executive, Laura, has put several theories to the test and below are four that actually work.
1. Digital detox
Limit your distractions at night-time by keeping your phone – and anything else that will distract you from sleep, out of sight and out of reach.
With my phone at my bedside, I used to scroll through social media or get myself tied up in a WhatsApp conversation before bed rather than focusing on falling asleep. Then when waking in the night, I would find myself not only replying to messages at silly o’clock in the morning, but I would shop, browse for holidays, do my online banking and search for anything else that randomly came into my mind at 3am!
Now, I keep my phone in another room away from the bedroom and away from distracting me.
2. Clear your mind
Don’t go to bed with thoughts and to-dos whirling around in your head – write them down and get them out.
Lying awake, unable to sleep in the dead of the night was the perfect time for my mind to come alive; everything and anything would go through my thoughts. I would think of something and then keep myself awake thinking about how I must remember to do it the following day.
Now, if there’s something on my mind before I go to bed, I write it down or set myself a little reminder for the morning, so I don’t forget.
You can even try keeping pen and paper close by so if you do wake and remember something, you can jot it down quickly rather than processing it in your head all night long.
3. Wind-down time
After a long day, don’t jump straight into bed and hope for the best. You need time to unwind, so try doing something that gives your mind time to rest and relax.
I’m not a big reader and only on occasion I find myself picking up a book; more often than not, when I’m on holiday. But I have recently started to read a book when I get into bed, before I go to sleep. It’s surprising how quickly I can feel myself becoming sleepy and my eyes dropping; it really is a great way to relax.
If reading isn’t for you, other methods of relaxation to try before bed include listening to music or meditating.
4. Watch what you eat / drink
Doing an all-nighter? You’ll no doubt opt for highly caffeinated drinks and foods to keep you awake. But, if you’re trying to sleep, you want to avoid these foods and drinks.
I love chocolate and I love a takeaway. However, I know having all that sugar, caffeine and carb-heavy food before bed isn’t a wise choice; it has a negative effect on my sleep and leaves me feeling groggy when I wake up.
So now, I make a conscious effort to make the right food choices. If I’m going to have these foods/drinks at all, I’ll have them much earlier in the day so I have several hours for them to digest.
If you’re in need of a late-night snack, opt for the whole, minimally processed foods instead such as berries, plain yogurt and eggs.
The National Sleep Foundation hosts its annual Sleep Awareness Week on March 14th-20th, 2021. The annual event celebrates sleep health and encourages the public to prioritise sleep to improve their overall health and wellbeing. For more information and for further sleep tips and advice, visit sleepfoundation.org.
For more tips, advice and updates for students, check out our news page.
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