Certain behaviours and routines can improve our ability to get to sleep, stay asleep and awake feeling refreshed and revitalised…
….and LightSleeper can be a valuable addition to your bedtime routine.
- Maintain a regular bedtime routine. The body clock is regulated by the brain, and the brain does its work best, when it follows the same pattern of sleeping and waking every day. So, if you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day it will be easier to fall asleep. It is important to maintain your sleep/wake pattern, even at weekends, when there may be a temptation to go to bed later, or to stay in bed later.
- Relax before bed. Relaxing sends a signal to the brain that it’s time to wind down. Select a relaxing activity of your choice – perhaps having a warm bath, or listening to soft music. Avoid bright light or activities that cause stress and anxiety.
- Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your bedtime. Avoid spicy foods that may cause heartburn and lead to a difficulty in falling asleep and cause discomfort during the night. However, a light snack may help promote sleep. Bananas contain an amino acid called tryptophan, which is thought to convert into a calming and sleep-inducing chemical in the brain.
- Take regular exercise – but do it early. Exercising regularly makes it easier to fall asleep, and helps you sleep better. However, the best time to exercise is in the morning, or early afternoon; exercising just before bedtime will make falling asleep more difficult. During exercise the body temperature rises and can take up to six hours to fall again. Elevated body temperature can impede sleep.
- Avoid alcohol. Although alcohol can initially make you sleepy, it reduces the quality of your sleep, and you’ll find yourself waking later in the night. To avoid this, stay away from alcohol in the last few hours before bed.
- Avoid caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant and remains in the body for 3-5 hours. Like all stimulants, caffeine can make it difficult to get to sleep.
- Avoid nicotine. Nicotine too is a stimulant and, as a result, disrupts sleep. Additionally, heavy smokers actually experience nicotine withdrawal as the night progresses, making it hard to stay asleep.
- Make your bedroom a place of comfort and relaxation. A cool, dark, quiet room is best. If your room is too light, try a black-out blind. If it’s too noisy, try using earplugs.
- Only use the bedroom for sleep. Don’t work, make phone calls, or eat in bed. If you use the bedroom only for sleep and sex, you strengthen the association between the bedroom and sleep.
- Take the television out of the bedroom. Television is stimulating. Even if the programme you are watching doesn’t capture your interest,advertisements are specifically designed to grab your attention. Watching television in the bedroom also means you are also unconsciously associating another activity with the bedroom; the area that should be used for sleep.