10 Top Tips for Better Sleep
1. Stick to a schedule – go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This helps regulate our body clock which is important for quality sleep.
2. Exercise earlier in the day – no later than 2-3 hours before your bedtime.
3. Get the right sun – at least 20 mins of natural sunlight outside, ideally in the morning. This also helps regulate our body clock.
4. Avoid caffeine:
- Caffeine can stay in your system for 5-7 hours, so ideally avoid after 3pm
- Decaff is not necessarily no-caff - decaffeinated tea and coffee may still contain some caffeine
- Don’t forget there's also caffeine in tea, colas, "energy" drinks and chocolate as well as coffee
- Some people might be more sensitive to caffeine due to their genes
5. Avoid alcohol before bed:
- Makes sleep lighter, although it might be heavy at the beginning of the night
- You wake up when the effects of alcohol wear off
6. Avoid large meals and drinks late at night:
- Large meals can cause indigestion
- Too much liquid = more trips to the bathroom
7. Don’t nap after 3pm – afternoon naps make it harder to sleep at night
8. Relax before bed – read or listen to music, minimise screens (especially those with blue light like mobile phones) and perhaps the news or horror movies before bed!
9. Sleep-proof your environment – dark, cool, gadget-free bedroom
10. Don’t lie in bed awake – after 20 minutes of being awake, get up and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy
Sources and further reading:
- ‘The 4 Pillar Plan’ by Dr Rangan Chatterjee, BBC’s Doctor in the House
- ‘Why We Sleep’ by Matthew Walker, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology and Director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory, University of California