10 Ways To Sleep Better Every Night

From kicking late night sugar to nesting, these are all the boxes to tick

sleep better every night

by Grazia |

When was the last time you moaned 'I'm soo tired' to a colleague? It's almost as common a greeting as 'hi' these days.

Running on empty is an all-too familiar ailment for most modern working women - with getting those advised 7-9 hours shut eye made all the harder by our hectic schedules and inability to switch off.

But getting enough kip to leave us bright eyed, and to stop us hitting that snooze button non-stop, could be as easy as a change in routine or diet. You don't need us to tell you it's important, but with science connecting sleep to intelligence and creativity, it's high time to pay attention to getting enough shut-eye!

We spoke to sleep expert Chireal Shallow of the Henry Potter Advisory Committee to get her advise on why we're losing sleep, and how to can make sure we get the rest we need every night. Here's 10 easy changes you can make to take control and rule your sleep routine.

1. Turn off the tech

'The artificial 'blue light' that is emitted from electronic devices such as a phone or the TV puts our brain into the wrong state of sleep,' says Chireal. 'It supresses the levels of melatonin, which is the hormone that manages the sleep and wake cycles,' she explains. The solution? Avoid indulging your social media cravings or tucking into a box set for 'at least an hour before bed.'

If you really can't resist switching off your iPhone, try to keep it at least 35cm away from your head to minimise the blue light, or use an app that alters the amount of light your phone emits like f.lux.

2. Kick your late night sugar habit and minimise late night drinking

[Rex]
[Rex]

Thinking of dipping a few biscuits in your late night cuppa? Put them down! Ditto to junk food, as foods which are high in sugar 'can cause a spike in your blood sugar levels,' explains Chireal, who recommends a good old fashioned glass of milk instead. 'The dairy in the milk is rich with tryptophan - an amino acid that helps to produce serotonin and melatonin to help you to get a restful night’s sleep. A good cup of herbal tea is also a great way to unwind as it is a natural sedative.'

If you do often get peckish before bed then nutritionist Shona Wilkinson at the Nutri Centre says stick to complex carbohydrates like 'a couple of oatcakes, or half a slice of rye bread or some rye crackers with a bit of hummous.' This will ensure 'a gentle release of energy and help to stop us waking up hungry during the night.

It's a myth that a night cap will help you drift off, as 'drinking a lot of alcohol just before bedtime doesn't allow for a fully restorative sleep.' But if you've had one too many then as a last resort nip any dehydration in the bud by 'making sure you drink lots of water before you go to sleep.'

3. Check Your Area?!

Obviously there's living under a flight path, noisy neighbours and trying to sleep through sirens, but did you know that where you live dictates how much sleep you get? Check out this study.

Who knew where you lived could make such a difference?!

Home is home after all- and we've cracked why you struggle to sleep elsewhere.

4. Make time to wind down

If you often feel wired before bed then make sure you leave time to wind down. Chireal says two hours is the optimum amount of time to start relaxing ahead of bed, though advises we allow 'at least 30 minutes to have a bath, drink a milky drink, read a book, dim the lights or light candles to provide a relaxing environment.'

5. Get into a routine

Yes, you've heard it before - but going to bed and waking up at the same time really is the key to getting the most restful night's sleep, as your body has a natural cycle. 'Aim to go to sleep at the same time each day to help your body form a habit,' says Chireal. This will also help you stay asleep through the night.

Lack of routine can have some pretty uncomfortable effects, including that weird falling sensation that wakes you up.

6. Leave your worries at the bedroom door

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[Urban Outfitters]

If you're someone who has trouble switching off or finds themselves feeling anxious about what they haven't achieved before bedtime, then noting down your concerns to get them off your chest and out of mind could be enough to ease your stress. Keep a notebook to offload your worries into before bedtime. Alternatively, Chireal advises writing a daily 'to do list with only three or four items' which you can 'complete at the beginning of the day so you have nothing to worry about by bedtime.'

Beauty gurus like Liz Earle swear by a little mindfulness to have a good night's sleep.

7. Wake up to natural light

Your body's carcadian rythm, aka. your body clock, is effected by light, so trying your best to avoid bright lights at night and exposing yourself to natural sunlight of a morning and during the day will help. If you don't sit by a window at work then try your best to get out and about on your lunch break.

Waking up with light will help kick-start your body clock, so consider investing in a sunrise lamp if you're someone who finds it hard to lift their head off the pillow and switch on that light.

8. Don't procrastinate!

We all know how easy it is blink and miss an evening, by the time you've replied to a day's worth of group WhatsApps or let your latest Netflix binge show roll on to the next episode, or five - but they can wait. Sometimes setting a bedtime and sticking to it is all you need to do to get a great night's kip.

Not sure when to go to bed? Check out this app which works out your optimum bedtime for you.

9. Do an early morning workout

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[Instagram/Gisele]

If your not a morning person you might not like this, but a brisk 30 minute workout first thing will help you sleep better that night. A study by Appalachian State University in the US found that adults who did a workout early in the day slept longer and deeper than those who did the same exercise later on.

...Or you could try sleeping and exercising all in one! Sounds too good to be true? Check this out!

10. Do some nesting

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[Instagram/Desmond&Dempsey]

It sounds obvious, but making your bedroom somewhere you want to sleep and feel relaxed is essential to getting a good rest. As well as tidying out that floordrobe pile making a mess of your room (the stuff on nightmares), investing in some new pillows and soothing beauty buys likes a bedtime candle or pillow spary will help you make your bedroom feel cosy and inviting.

Try to change sheets every two weeks, or even better every week, to keep allergens at bay. Cotton covers are best for regulating body temperature - we sleep best at 16-18 degrees. To attain the optimum temparture during colder months have a blanket at hand and socks if you feel the cold. Also, bear in mind that a mattress reaches it's shelf-life after about nine-10 years - investing in a new one could be a fast track to sleepytime.

Here's our pick of five buys guaranteed to make your bedroom a happier, sleepier place...

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Products to help you sleep better

Add good bacteria to your breakfast
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Improve your sleep by switching off your screens at least an hour before bed. Perhaps even try a bath or shower to help improve your sleep. Spoil yourself with Neom Organics London Real Luxury Bath and Shower Oil.

Amazon
Try a sleep candle
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Try this deep sleep heavenly candle before bed. The essential oils will create a calm space for the mind and the senses.

Amazon
Try a pillow spray
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Spray your pillow 15 minutes before bed. Scents like lavender are linked with better sleep.

Amazon
At breakfast, try topping up your good bacteria with a probiotic supplement such as Bioglan BioHappy Daily Cultures
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At breakfast, try topping up your good bacteria with a probiotic supplement such as Bioglan BioHappy Daily Cultures.

Amazon
Make your room cool and dark
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Make your room cool and dark to help improve your sleep. Give this face mask that contours to your face a try.

Amazon
Try a sunrise alarm
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In the winter, you can get the benefits of sunlight first thing with a sunrise alarm clock such as the Lumie Sunrise Alarm.

Amazon
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