When you sleep better, you'll feel better, eat more healthily and get more done during the day. Here's five tips you can easily put into action to help your brain and body rest each night...
Exercise your way to better sleep
Work out, but not immediately before you go to bed. Research indicates that athletes who work out regularly sleep better than sedentary people. Tiredness induced from a workout will make it easier for you to slumber. You'll also feel that you deserve a good sleep. But don't go for a run around the block before retiring as you'll probably find yourself having difficulties going straight to bed. Your core temperature will have increased, and ideally, you want it to cool down a little before sleep.
There is an exception. If you're particularly stressed - perhaps, for example, because you have an interview the next day. An easy CV session may actually take the edge off your anxiety and calm you down, making sleep easier.
Retire at the same time every night and get up at the same time
You need to get into a rhythm. Your body clock likes routine and gets set to regular sleep.
Discover your optimum sleep quota
Most people don't sleep for long enough. Research indicates that eight hours is the average required for optimum benefit.
To work out how much you need, go to bed half an hour earlier than normal. Experiment until you discover the optimum number of hours that allows you to make it through each day without feeling drowsy. If your nighttime sleep is more like a period of hibernation, then you may have to start by subtracting 30 minutes and working from there.
Eat carbohydrates with a higher glycaemic index
This doesn't mean that stuffing yourself with lollies is the key to a great night's sleep. But research does suggest that foods like rice, potatoes and bananas can assist you. This is because they can trigger the release of serotonin in the brain. You can read more about serotonin being a sleep-inducing neurotransmitter here. Do avoid a five-course meal before bed though. You'll probably end up with indigestion. Don't drink tea or coffee prior to retiring for the night either - the caffeine will act as a stimulant.
Make your bedroom an oasis of calm
Your bedroom environment is crucial for a good night's sleep. Some people can nod off anywhere. Many of us can't. If your bedroom is tranquil, tidy, uncluttered and fresh then the chances are you'll drop off into a refreshing and restful sleep. Although many people do watch TV in bed or read books, these activities can stimulate the mind and actually keep you awake.