Sleep (along with working out) is usually one of the first things to shoved to the bottom of the priority list when life gets busy. But, like working out, getting enough quality sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. It’s while your body is resting that it can repair damaged muscles fibers (including your heart) and build new cells to keep you in tip top shape. Getting enough quality sleep every night is also essential to improve your memory, foster creativity, reduce inflammation, improve athletic performance and prevent a whole host of diseases. So, if you’re struggling to get enough sleep or keep waking up tired, follow these 7 simple tips to help you sleep better tonight.
1. Create a Bedtime Routine
Unwinding at the end of the day is a process and creating a bedtime routine will help your body to know that it’s time to sleep. Just like when you were a kid, choose a bed time that lets you get enough sleep every night. Then create a relaxing, wind down routine to go through as you’re getting ready for bed. You might have a shower, brush your teeth and read a book for 20 minutes. Or, try some bedtime yoga, listen to relaxing music or write in a journal. Whatever you do, stick to it every night, even at the weekends!
2. Eat Enough Magnesium
If you have trouble getting to sleep or sleep poorly, eating more magnesium rich foods might help you sleep better tonight. Magnesium decreases your cortisol (stress) levels and helps your muscles to relax so you feel more sleepy. Spinach, pumpkin seeds, almonds and dark chocolate are all high in magnesium. Include them in your dinner but don’t go overboard on the chocolate! The sugar and caffeine will keep you awake.
3. Have Dinner Early
After you eat, your body goes to work digesting and processing your meal. Instead of making your stomach work while it should be resting, eat dinner at least 3 hours before bed. If you’re peckish before sleep time, have a cup of camomile or peppermint tea. For something a bit more substantial, try having a small serving of almonds, walnuts, milk or cheese. The calcium helps your brain use the tryptophan that’s in dairy to produce melatonin for a deeper sleep.
4. Exercise, but Not Right Before Bed
Exercising has long been named as one of the best things you can do to sleep better. So, get your workout in, but, avoid exercising in the 2 hours before you go to sleep. Post-workout adrenaline will make it harder to fall asleep.
5. Turn Off Electronics
You might feel like scrolling through Facebook, checking your Instagram or finding cool things to Pin is relaxing, but, it’s actually making it super hard for your mind to switch off! Phones and television screens stimulate our senses and keep us awake. What’s more, the light from electronic screens can prevent your natural melatonin levels from rising which is essential for deep sleep. Switch off 30 minutes before bed time at a minimum!
Lying in bed tossing and turning? Try a sleep meditation. It’s my go-to ‘can’t get to sleep’ trick and it always works a treat! I’ve been using the Headspace app for over a year now and totally recommend Andy’s 10-minute guided sleep exercise. Unfortunately, it’s not available as part of the free trial. But, if you want to give it a go, definitely try the free 10-day foundation pack which will start to teach you about the building blocks of meditation. Even doing a regular mindful meditation session might help you sleep better tonight.
7. Make Your Bedroom a Sleep Haven
You know that dreamy bedroom setting you saw on Pinterest? It’s time to make that yours! Setting your bedroom up as a dedicated place for sleeping only helps to tell your mind it’s time to rest. Invest in a comfortable mattress, quality bedding and curtains that block the light out. Charge electronics out of the bedroom and turn glowing alarm clocks away so that the light doesn’t disturb your sleep. Burn a nice smelling candle with lavender or another sleepy essential oil and keep the room at a nice, cool temperature. Avoid working in your bedroom, watching tv or even having arguments in bed. All of these things create tension that makes it harder to unwind.
Sleep Better Tonight
If you’ve been having trouble getting quality sleep, choose at least one of these 7 tips to put into practice tonight. And remember, getting a good night’s sleep is just as important as exercising and eating well!