Did you wake up feeling groggy, sleepy or a bit drained today? Do you think you’re often missing out on some much needed sleep at night?
We’ve prepared 7 easy steps that you can use throughout the day to improve your sleep quality. Let’s get started!
9am: Have you had a healthy breakfast?
Starting the day with a nutritious breakfast gives your body the energy boost it needs to keep you going. Try porridge, natural yogurt with fresh fruit or wholegrain cereals or toast this morning.
12pm: Go get some fresh air and sunlight
Our natural sleep cycle is influenced by our internal body clock called our circadian rhythm. It responds to light and dark signals around us so we know when it is time to wake up, and time to sleep. Going for a walk at lunchtime, even if it’s cloudy, will help your body recognise that it’s time to be awake and alert.
3pm: Quit the caffeine
Now’s the time to stop drinking any tea, coffee or energy drinks if you find it difficult to drift off at night. You can start to feel the energy kick of a caffeinated drink just 15 minutes after having it, but the effects can last up to 12 hours.
5pm: Leave work worries behind
Stress acts like a stimulant. When you have things on your mind it can be difficult to relax, and this can contribute to a poor night's rest. Worrying about falling asleep can then become another source of stress!
Try writing a to-do list for tomorrow’s tasks before you leave work today. It could help you feel organised and prepared for the day ahead without having to worry about it when you get home.
7pm: Finish any exercise now
Exercise is a great way to improve your sleep. It helps reduce anxiety and stress levels which will help you fall asleep faster, sleep longer and wake up less often through the night. But try to stop exercising at least three hours before bedtime to allow your body to completely cool down.
8pm: No more munching
Eating a large meal immediately before bed can upset your digestive system leaving you uncomfortable and full while you’re trying to drift off. Try to plan your last meal at least two hours before bedtime.
10pm: Start to switch off
Electronics like TVs, laptops, tablets and even mobile phones emit a blue light which can trick the brain into thinking it’s time to be alert, even if it’s late at night. It’s time to power off any devices you might have before heading to bed.
In this blog post, we’ve prepared six sleep facts and sleep myths to help you improve your habits.
- Sleep Drive and Your Body Clock. (https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/sleep-drive-andyour-body-clock) National Sleep Foundation. Visited 12 May 2014.
- Caffeine and Sleep. National Sleep Foundation. (https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleeptopics/caffeine-and-sleep) Visited 12 May 2014.
- Loprinzi PD & Cardinal BJ. Association between objectively-measured physical activity and sleep, NHANES 2005-2006. Mental Health and Physical Activity 2011;
- 65-69. 4. Food and Sleep related problems. National Sleep Foundation. (https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/food-and-sleep-related-problems) Visited 12 May 2014.
- Blue light has a dark side. Harvard Medical School. (https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/2012/May/blue-light-hasa-dark-side) Visited 12 May 2014