Why can't I sleep? Find out what's causing your sleepless nights and take our quiz
Getting a good night's sleep is the foundation of our health and can offer wide-ranging benefits – from better concentration to reduced stress levels.
When it comes to sleep, quality is as important as quantity. One study found that interrupted sleep is worse for us than shortened sleep, as our brains don't get the chance to settle into slow-wave sleep.
Having a good sleeping environment is key to getting some proper rest.
Take our quiz, then read on to find out how you can improve your sleep hygiene.
How good is your sleep hygiene? Take our quiz and find out…
How to improve your sleep hygiene
Cut down on your devices
Keep your phone out of your bedroom if you can and resist the urge to check it before you go to sleep. Your bed should be for sleep, not for checking Instagram!
Get up at the same time each day
Even at the weekend, guys. (Sorry, no lie-ins!) Routine is important and it's a good idea to avoid daytime naps too.
Take regular exercise
Getting your heart pumping with some vigorous exercise can really help to improve your sleep.
Spend time outdoors
If you work indoors, it can be hard to keep your circadian rhythms on track, as you don't get much daylight. Try to get outside on your lunch break if you can.
Get your bedroom temperature right
Being too warm or too cool can make it difficult to sleep. If you tend to get chilly, make sure you keep an extra blanket on hand.
Shut out unwanted noise
Try to make your room as quiet as possible. Earplugs can help to reduce background noise, or you can put in your headphones listen to relaxing music or natural sounds.
Make your bedroom darker
Take a look around. How dark is your room with the lights off? If there's light from outside coming through your curtains, then it might be worth investing in thicker ones to block out the light.
Use a relaxation exercise
Just before sleep, take some time to meditate or simply lie quietly and clear your mind.
Take a bath or shower
Warm water will make you feel more relaxed and ready for sleep.
Keep your hands and feet warm
Yes, cold feet can keep you awake! If this is a problem you have, it would be worth getting some cosy socks.
What's keeping me awake?
Before going to bed, you should try to avoid overstimulating your body and mind.
Try to avoid activities such as playing computer games, watching TV or doing exercise, as these can make it harder to drop off to sleep.
Caffeine is a well-known enemy of sleep, but did you know that alcohol and nicotine can also stop you from getting a restful night? Having a snack, on the other hand, can be a good thing because hunger can keep you awake.
Finally, lying in bed awake and thinking about not being able to sleep won't help you to nod off. If you can't sleep for more than half an hour, it's a good idea to get up and go to another room and do something relaxing (like reading). Return to your bedroom once you're feeling drowsy!
Photos by Charles Deluvio, Ben Blennerhassett and Sarah Gray on Unsplash.
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