Sometimes a good nights sleep seems more elusive than the Loch Ness Monster. We can toss and turn for hours, but whether it is the stress of the day or an over active mind, or hormonal fluctuations, sometimes, we just cannot get to sleep. Ideally, everyone could do with eight hours of blissful sleep, to restore and rejuvenate mind and body, so that when the morning comes, and the alarm goes off, we don’t immediately dive under the covers, and feel like hibernating. Mrs Thatcher famously claimed that she only needed three or four hours of sleep a night. But doctor’s and sleep experts generally agree that that figure should be closer to seven or eight.
The greatest barrier to sleep seems to the constant over stimulation we face, when we should be relaxing and winding down before going to sleep. Try dimming the lights several hours before you intend to go to bed, so that you gradually start to feel sleepy. Avoid looking at your computer and try to read or listen to relaxing music before retiring to bed or have a relaxing bath.
Sleep expert at Warren Evans, Dave Gibson, believes that one of the biggest impacts on our sleep comes from the blue light emitted from technology.
“In simplistic terms blue light, as per a blue morning sky, is designed to wake you up, and the absence of blue light (i.e. when it gets dark) makes you get sleepy.
Blue light regulates our secretion of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Exposed to blue light, we limit the production of melatonin and, we stay alert and awake. In the absence of blue light, melatonin production increases and, we get sleepy”
The best way to combat this is to keep technology usage to a minimum at night.
Blu light is not the only thing affecting our sleep. Luckily for us the sleep experts at Warren Evans, one of our favorite British bed makers, have come up with a whole list of easy and inspiring ways to help us get that good restorative nights sleep we really deserve!
10 Tips for How to get a good nights sleep:
1) Make getting to sleep a ritual, try to go to bed at the same time every night with a similar routine if possible. Before going to bed, try having a warm bath.
2) Avoid using your PC for at least 2 hours before you go to bed. Computer screens emit blue light, which tricks your brain to stop producing Melatonin. The blue light hits the light receptors at the back of your eyes and basically tells your brain that it’s time to get up!
3) Avoid eating before bed, as a full stomach will keep you awake. In addition you won’t metabolize the food and you will put on weight. It has also been shown that if you don’t get enough sleep you are prone to put on weight around your mid-riff.
4) Get rid of your work worries and write a list before you go to bed.
5) Drink valerian tea. Valerian is a safe herbal choice for the treatment of mild insomnia. Most studies suggest that it is more effective when used continuously rather than as an acute sleep aid. A potential advantage of valerian over sleeping pills is the lack of sleepiness on awakening.
6) If you are waking with back pain and you feel uncomfortable during the night see if this improves by turning your mattress. If this does not work then consider a new one..maybe try one from Warren Evans?
Equally get the size of your pillow right. It needs to keep your neck level with the rest of your spine. Typically one medium/firm pillow does the trick
7) Get your bedroom right. Get rid of all TVs, PCs and make it a room to sleep in. Change your bed linen frequently.
8) Eat foods that help you sleep. Include milk. Typotophan, an amino acid in milk products, can help reduce stress. The calcium helps your body optimise the benefits for sleeping, and the warm temperature can add to the soporific effects
9) Don’t drink caffeine late in the day, or alcohol late in the evening both will keep you awake.
10) Meditate. Meditation and self-hypnosis actually appear to increase alpha-theta activity and frequent practice is often prescribed as a means of supporting the body’s ability to repair and recuperate. Prolonged periods of relaxation also up the secretion of mood-altering neuro-transmitters (e.g. serotonin and dopamine), which results in a more resourceful state of mind.
Don’t forget that the clocks go back on Saturday 26th!
Sweet dreams from The Ethical Hedonist.