The benefits of a good night’s sleep can spread throughout all areas of your life. It’s not just about being grumpy the next morning if you don’t get enough hours – a good night’s sleep has important effects on our health, brain state, mood, immune system, and even our weight loss goals!

Poor sleep, even if it feels ‘adequate’ because you’re used to it, has a slew of negative health outcomes it’s too scary to even contemplate. It’s never as easy as ‘just’ getting better sleep, though- it’s estimated around 1 in 3 people have some form of insomnia or sleep disturbances, and every one of us will go through a period where stress, health, or simply an unruly mind stops us getting our usual 40 winks. What can you do to help ensure a better night’s sleep? We’ve got all the tips you need!

Blue light (shouldn’t) shine bright

This is the number 1 sleep killer! Most flat and touchscreen devices emit blue light to make them easier to read. This same light is a total sleep wrecker, however. It suppresses the melatonin that regulates our sleep cycle, and will throw off your circadian rhythm completely. Try to quit all screens (including your tablet) at least an hour before bed. If you do have to work or game until late in the evening, consider investing in a pair of yellow-brown sunglasses to filter out this light spectrum. 

Dim the lights

Talking about light, even ambient lighting can have melatonin-suppressing effects. As you get closer to bedtime, try dimming the lights. If you have difficulty waking up in the morning, you can flip this effect and gradually brighten the room.

Exercise

Making sure your body is physically tired will help improve sleep, and exercise acts as a hormone regulator too. Just don’t exercise too late or you may be too hyped to sleep at all!

Heavy blankets help

If you’re a restless sleeper, naturally anxious, or having a stressful period, consider adding more weight to your blankets. The feeling of a heavier blanket can soothe an overactive mind and help your sleep be more restful. You can also buy weighted blankets, or simply make your own.

Be mindful

Mindfulness techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and other calming methods can help put you in the right state of mind to slip off naturally.

Watch what you eat and drink

We all know about triggers like caffeine, but the idea of taking a ‘nightcap’ of alcohol to aid sleep is counterproductive too. You may nod off faster, but it will cause a restless sleep low in the REM we need to feel great. Spicy foods can upset your digestion, and eating a heavy meal late will disturb you too. The stomach’s too busy digesting to let you rest well! Consider adding foods rich in calcium and magnesium if you want a late-night snack, as these can help soothe you to sleep.

Stay cool

A hot bedroom is a known sleep disrupter. 60 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 19 Celsius) is considered the best temperature for a peaceful sleep. You don’t want to freeze, but keep it cool enough to trigger the brain into understanding it’s time to rest.

Start implementing some of these tips in your day-to-day life and you’re sure to get a better night’s sleep! Which will you try first?