We all know that sleep is important but, despite good intentions, some of us can find a restful night elusive. Not only can sleepless nights be frustrating, they can also impact our day to day life, contributing to a variety of issues from reduced concentration and mood swings to an increased risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. If you suffer from habitual sleeplessness – also known as insomnia – you may be wondering, what can I do to help get a good sleep? In this article, we’ll cover some top tips for dropping off and staying asleep.
Regular exercise, so long as it’s not too close to bedtime, can be very helpful for quality sleep. Not only will physical exercise tire you out, making you more likely to fall asleep quicker, it can help relieve stress and the endorphins released will boost your mood and can act as sedatives. As stress and anxiety can be large barriers for restfulness and falling asleep, any moderate exercise – from swimming and running to yoga and gardening – can be beneficial.
Cut back on caffeine and alcohol
Stimulants, such as caffeine and nicotine, encourage wakefulness, making you more alert and raising your heart rate. This is counter-productive if you are trying to sleep, so you should avoid smoking and consuming caffeinated drinks in the evening to ensure they don’t have a lingering undesirable influence at bedtime.
Alcohol, although a depressant which can make you drowsy and relaxed, can also have a negative effect on sleep. You may drop off easily after a drink or two, but alcohol can reduce restorative REM sleep and increase the likelihood of an interrupted night’s sleep. As such, many people find cutting out alcohol can be a good way to improve sleep quality.
Light plays a big part in our ability to sleep. Our bodies have a form of internal clock which creates sleep-wake cycles, also known as ‘circadian rhythms’. This body clock is largely influenced by light levels, which signal what times we should be awake and when we should be asleep.
Nowadays, in urban environments, it is common for light to be present even at night in the form of streetlights, passing car headlights or illuminated shop signs. This light, if allowed into our bedrooms, can create an environment which isn’t favourable for sleep. To remedy this, good quality blackout blinds are a great option which can block out disruptive light and generate a sleep-inducing set up.
A lot of people wind down looking through their phone, tablet or laptop in bed, but gazing at such devices a few inches away from our faces is not doing any good. The blue light emitted by these devices resembles daylight and research has found this can make our brains stay awake and alert – not what you want before bed. Ditch the screens in the lead up to bedtime; reading a book is a good, relaxing alternative.
Sleep apps and relaxation
For many, the barrier to sleep is psychological. For instances such as these, trying to alter your mindset and ameliorate any mental hang-ups can be very helpful. Learning relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, using sleep apps or playing soothing background sounds can all help to relax you and get you in the right mindframe for sleep.
UK Blinds Direct can help you on your way to a good night’s sleep with our wide variety of high quality blinds, including our effective blackout blinds. Our experts can help you select the perfect blinds for your needs and interior style, as well as providing a skilled installation service. For trusted blinds professionals in Sheffield and Rotherham, look no further. Get in touch with our helpful team today for more information.