How to Improve Your Sleep (Blog)

We all have occasional nights when we find it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep during the night. In the busy world that we live in, it is very common to struggle with our sleep. However, getting a good night’s sleep is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing.

Depending on your age group, you may need a different amount of sleep in order to feel well-rested for the day. School-age children (6-12 year-olds) need between 9-12 hours of sleep every night. Teenagers (13-18 year-olds) need around 8-10 hours of sleep, whereas adults (18-60 year-olds) need 7 or more hours of sleep every night.

Here’s some tips on how to get the most out of your sleep: 

1. Create a routine and stick with it

Your sleep routine starts before you actually get into bed, so it’s important to start unwinding around the same time everyday in order to fall asleep at the time you want. Similarly, waking up at the same time everyday is very important for a good sleeping routine. 

If you find it hard to leave your bed, avoid distractions, like going on your phone, and just get up and make your bed instead. Making our bed early in the morning has been shown to give us a boost of dopamine. Dopamine is a hormone that gets released every time we complete a task. So why not start off your day by feeling like you’ve already achieved something? 

2. Confront your sleeplessness 

If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes after getting in bed don’t beat yourself up over that! Instead, get up and do an activity that is easy and relaxing. You could read for a little bit, do some light stretches, meditate or listen to some quiet music and then go back to bed when you’re feeling sleepier.

3. Reduce your screen time before bed 

Using technology before going to bed can seriously affect the quality of our sleep. Devices, such as phones, TVs, tablets and computers generate artificial blue light. Blue light has the most energy out of all colours of light. Therefore, artificial blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that makes us sleepy. This is why it’s important to avoid using any devices at least an hour before bed in order to fall asleep faster and have a restful sleep. 

4. Manage your worries

Try to deal with your anxieties and stress as much as you can before bedtime. You can journal or speak to your friends and family about your worries during the day. Similarly, organising your tasks and goals for the next day before going to bed can help ease stress.

5. Prepare your body for sleep 

Our physical wellbeing can have a big impact on our sleep. It is important to avoid having caffeine, alcohol, nicotine or a big meal in the hours before sleep so that our body can properly prepare for deep sleep. Regular exercise during daytime can also massively improve our sleep. However, it’s best to avoid anything too intense in the hours before going to bed. 

6. Create a restful environment 

There are a lot of things that can make our sleep better. It is usually easier to fall and stay asleep during the night in a dark, cool, and quiet environment. 

However, the right sleep environment is personal and you can try out different things to see what works best for you. Some people find that relaxing sounds, such rainfall, white noise, or gentle music helps with their sleep. It might also be useful to put your phone on silent mode and face down, or even entirely out of the room during night time. Also make sure your room has good air flow. All of these things can massively improve the quality of your sleep. 

It is important to remember that this advice may not apply to you. If you are sharing a room with a sibling, family member or friend it can be difficult to have full control over your sleep environment. However, these tips have helped a lot of people, so try them out and see what works for you. 

If these don’t work and you are struggling with your sleep to a point where it is affecting your daily life, you should contact a professional, such as your GP or a therapist, who can assess your struggles and recommend the best treatment for your situation.