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8 ways to improve sleep

Facing the challenges of daily life is so much easier after 8 hours of untroubled sleep. But during times of increased stress, a decent night’s rest can be one of the first casualties of a troubled mind. Increasingly scientists are waking up to the fact that sleep is just as important as good nutrition and exercise. It’s time to make some changes. Here are some ideas to improve your sleep hygiene.

Get up at the same time every morning

After a bad night, the last thing you may want to do is get up early. But getting out of bed at the same time every morning, try making it before 8 am, is one of the most powerful ways of re-booting your natural sleep rhythms. Yes, even at the weekend.

Avoid caffeine after midday

Some people are hyper-sensitive to caffeine. Experiment with substituting herbal teas and water for tea, coffee, energy drinks and colas from lunch until bedtime. Sudden reduction in caffeine intake can bring on headaches and tiredness but after a week or so your body should adjust.

Cut out late night snacks

Try leaving at least three hours between your last meal of the day and bedtime. Alcohol and sugary snacks are particularly disruptive to restful sleep.

Introduce a wind-down routine

Tempting as it may be to watch TV or scroll through social media until late at night, you will almost certainly benefit from incorporating some wind-down time into your bedtime routine. This might include a candle-lit bath, a bit of gentle yoga or meditation.

Mindfulness of eating

The foods we eat can significantly impact our ability to feel calm during the day and sleep at night. Rich foods may be difficult to digest; cakes and biscuits might bring on a sugar-rush. Did you know that bananas, poultry, cashews, almonds, chia seeds, sesame, flax and wheatgerm have been linked to improved mood and sleep? A more mindful approach to eating really might help.

Keep the phone out of the bedroom

Try avoiding phones, tablets and computer screens during your wind-down routine. You may be surprised at the impact which something as small as making your bedroom a no-go area for electronic devices can have on your ability to sleep.

Increase your exposure to natural sunlight

Exposure to natural light during the morning and afternoon might help regulate your natural sleep rhythms.

Use mindfulness to change the way you react to stress

The way you react to stress during the day has a big impact on your ability to set aside those stresses when trying to sleep at night. The more room you make for mindfulness in your daily life, the easier you should find it to get that much-needed sleep.

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