10 Tips for Better Sleep

Don’t you just hate it when you feel sluggish but are expected to be going 100mph, you find everything takes just a little bit longer and that constant feeling of being tired?
Below I outline 10 tips that could help you get better and more sleep, something I think most of us could really do with.

1.    Get up at the same time every day.  Your body likes patterns and a great way of setting up this pattern is to ensure you are waking at the same time each day.  This also ensures you will be ready for sleep at approximately the same time each night.

2.    Avoid the TV, Phone, Tablet for an hour before bed.  It is shown that using these devices stimulates the brain and so creates a waking effect for many people.

3.    Try some form of meditation or relaxation in order to achieve a state of mental relaxation. Try to spend the last hour before bed avoiding rushing around, working and cramming things into your day.  Slow down your movement and your breathing. 

4.    Cut the caffeine out earlier in the day.  Caffeine has a half-life of 6 hours so if you have a cup of coffee at 4PM, half the caffeine from that coffee is still in your system at 10PM and is likely to keep you awake longer than you want to be.

5.    Be picky about what you eat in you last meal.  Avoid anything that may cause heartburn or too much sugar which may well lead to an energy spike. 

6.    Be careful with napping.  Napping, whilst sometimes beneficial, can be detrimental to quality and amount of sleep. 

7.    Exercise.  Daily exercise is shown to help improve sleep.  The more vigorous the exercise the greater the benefit. 

8.    Set your room just right. Ideally a bedroom should have little noise and very little light.  Aim for a room temperature of approx 18-21 degrees celsius.

9.    Avoid alcohol.  Whilst you may feel that alcohol relaxes you and helps send you off to sleep, you are in fact experiencing the opposite.  Alcohol is known to raise stress levels in the body, which in turn will create a hormonal imbalance.  Also the state of sleep that alcohol causes is not the restorative sleep your body may be craving.

10.    A diet rich in the amino acid Tryptophan can aid sleep for some.  Tryptophan is converted to Serotonin.  Low levels of Serotonin can lead to anxiety and depression and the lowering leads to reduced cellular communication.  Serotonin in turn is converted into Melatonin, the chemical that induces sleep.  Foods rich in Tryptophan include Turkey, Steak, Chicken and Pumpkin Seeds.

Darren Carrol