5 simple things you need to do for better sleep
Sleep plays a vital role in your everyday health and wellbeing. Not getting an ample amount of rest can have dramatic effects on your cognitive function, mental and physical health, body development and quality of life.
If turning down for the night is a daily struggle for you, take a look at some of the simple tips Elite Daily recommends.
Soothing the mind and body can feel like a real treat just before bed, and you only need to do a few things to fully wind down. Sipping on a warm herbal tea like camomile, peppermint or lavender is particularly calming. You could also infuse your herbal tea with natural sleep aids such as honey, lemon, and ginger.
If you think your body could do with some TLC before bed, why not try a lavender bath soak? Lavender is proven to soothe sore muscles and relax nervous tension due to its high levels of special aromatic molecules called ‘esters’. If you love the way lavender makes you feel, add a few drops of lavender oil in a diffuser beside your bed, or spray your pillow with a lavender essential oil to calm you down and keep eye bags at bay.
It’s no secret that technology can be distracting, no more so than in the bedroom. The blue and white lights given off by phones, televisions and tablets prevent the brain releasing melatonin: a hormone that tells the body to get some shut-eye.
For the best chance of a good night’s sleep, try switching off all your electronic devices, or, better still, leave them out of your bedroom completely.
There are a few things you can do throughout the day to help you wind down. Experts recommend laying off caffeine by early afternoon, as many caffeinated foods and beverages take around eight hours to completely leave your system. This means that if you have caffeine in your system when you go to bed, it could be difficult to nod off.
It is not only the mind that takes a while to wind down, the digestive system needs restorative calm too. This is because, when we digest food, an amino acid called C-peptide is released. Studies have found that C-peptide correlates strongly with lower levels of melatonin, so when you eat later in the day, you may inadvertently be keeping yourself awake for longer. To make sure you are primed for a great night’s sleep, try to eat small meals late in the day, and avoid eating anything at least a few hours before you go to bed.
Find the perfect pillow
Rebecca Robbins, Ph.D., a fellow at the New York University School of Medicine, says your pillow should match your dominant sleep position. For instance, if you are a side sleeper, a firm or extra firm pillow is recommended to properly support the neck. Medium-firm pillows are ideal for back sleepers who need their neck gently cradled; stomach sleepers can benefit from a soft pillow, so the neck isn’t forced backwards. Try out different types of pillows to see what suits you best if you are unsure.
During the day, your body may experience an abundance of small, but niggling stresses. You might finish the day feeling slightly stiff, or with tension in common pressure points, such as your neck, shoulders, and back, which can make it difficult to sleep easy.
Sleep.org recommends practicing short restorative yoga sequences before bed. The most beneficial, they say, are the following four poses:
- Cat-Cow – with your hands and knees on the floor, arch your spine toward the ceiling and drop your head.
- Seated Forward Bend – in a seated position, extend your legs in front of you and fold forward so you are reaching your toes.
- Seated Twist – in a cross-legged position, place your right hand on the left knee and place your left hand behind the tailbone. Look over your left shoulder and hold the position.
- Legs Up the Wall – with your head near a wall, roll onto your back and lift your legs as close to the wall as possible. Keep your arms by your side, turn the palms up and hold the position.
Make sure to consult your doctor before doing any strenuous movements.
What are your tips for a good night’s sleep?