Sleep is a wonder. When you get enough good quality restorative sleep life is much easier to navigate when the seas start to get choppy. On the other hand, good sleep can be elusive. Night after night it can be broken and frustration sets in.
Now I’ve mentioned in many previous blogs about the importance of sleep and how lack of sleep affects many aspects of your wellbeing from weight gain, weakened immune, reduced cognitive function, reduced happiness, blood sugar dysregulation and the list goes on. So, I’ve made a short list of some of the main actions to take when trying to improve your sleep without the jargon because if you’re sleep deprived you may want to get straight to the point. But saying that, remember that if you’re highly stressed, overtraining or eating poorly these tips won’t work as well for you so those issues need to be addressed.
It’s also worth noting that some medications can affect your sleep. It’s worth talking with your doctor to find alternatives if possible rather than taking another medication to help you sleep. There’s a huge difference between good quality sleep and “knocking yourself unconscious” with alcohol or medication.
This is not an exhaustive list but a great place to start. Trying a few of these tips won’t be as powerful as doing as many as of these as you can all at the same time.
Get outside as often as possible.
If you can’t improve sleep duration then work on sleep density.
Move frequently during the day.
Limit sunglasses during the morning to allow good natural light exposure to the eyes.
Use blue blocking glasses later in the day.
Reduce screen time in the evening.
No phones or laptops in the bedroom.
Dark room/ eye mask.
Quiet room/ ear plugs.
Use candlelight around the house at night to start to calm your mind and slow down your thoughts.
Make lunch your biggest meal.
Have your last meal 2-3 hours before you go to sleep, giving yourself a fasting window as this helps the body rest and repair.
Try 8-10 minutes of soft tissue work like foam rolling as this will help get you into the parasympathetic nervous system.
Take a long hot shower/hot epsom salts bath before bed but if your core temperature is warmer at nighttime then try taking a cool shower instead.
Have a cool room temperature. 18 degrees is a good guide.
Quieten the mind with a fictional book.
Take magnesium 1 hour before bed.
Take tart cherry juice 1 hour before bed.
No caffeine after 2pm.
Limit your water intake after 8pm or diuretics like tea so as to reduce bathroom breaks during the night.
Put 1-2 drops of lavender oil next to your pillow.
Create a regular bedtime eg 10pm and a regular bedtime routine eg low lights, hot bath etc..
Some additional supplements to consider with the advice of your health practitioner would be L-theanine, Taurine, 5-HTP and Melatonin.
There are other tricks to help reset the circadian rhythm so don’t give up if you’re still struggling to sleep. Some helpful resources-
The book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker,
Thanks for reading!