How To Sleep Better: 13 Tips & Tricks
Do you wish you could wake up feeling more refreshed? If you can relate to any of the six signs that you may be sleep deprived, then this blog is for you! Sleeping better can be as simple as making some changes to your routine before bed.
How to sleep better
Try these tips to wind down and get into bed ready to sleep soundly.
1. Get ready for tomorrow
Start by writing down any important tasks you need to do tomorrow or getting your clothes ready for the next day. Writing little reminders to yourself and preparing things the night before reduces the chance that you’ll be lying in bed thinking about them!
2. Make time to stretch
A few minutes spent stretching and focusing on your breathing can help to increase the flow of blood to your muscles, which can help with your body’s recovery. Stretching can be good for reducing some of the tension that builds up naturally during the day.
Each week of my BBG program has two recovery sessions that you can do as part of your nightly routine to help you fully relax in preparation for a good night’s sleep.
3. Have a cup of tea
When you’re trying to prepare your body for sleep, it might be a good idea to skip the coffee (or alcohol, if you drink it) and have a cup of tea instead. Remember that coffee is a stimulant, so it can actually make you feel more awake.
4. Avoid eating a big meal close to bedtime
While it’s a bad idea to go to bed hungry, eating a big meal right before you sleep can also lead to a restless night. If you need to snack in the evening so you won’t wake up hungry during the night, be mindful of what you choose to eat.
As you may have guessed, late night burgers aren’t topping the list for foods that make it easier to sleep. Any foods with high saturated fat content can cause heartburn, which may keep you awake long after you’ve finished eating. Try to avoid high-sugar cookies or snacks, as the sugar hit can keep you awake.
If you’re feeling peckish, try lighter options and foods with naturally occurring tryptophan like nuts, seeds or milk. Tryptophan is an amino acid that assists serotonin production, which can help you drift off to sleep. An ideal bedtime snack is one of these chia seed cookies with a glass of milk.
5. Get comfortable
Who doesn’t love getting into their pyjamas? Once you put them on, don’t you just feel so much more comfortable and at ease? Taking a relaxing bath or shower in the evening and getting into your pj’s can help you to wind down. If you prefer to shower in the morning, try a footbath in the evening to help you to relax.
You want to be as comfy as possible when you’re trying to sleep, so put on something that won’t make you feel too hot, and that isn’t going to get tangled up if you roll over at night!
6. Don't be tempted to finish work for the next day
I’m sure the idea of working from the comfort of your bed is VERY appealing to many people. In saying that, being in work mode when you should be in sleep mode (or at least pre-sleep mode) means your brain is still very active.
When you are on a deadline or replying to emails, you’re still thinking and planning. Your brain, being the clever little thing it is, may then begin to associate your bedroom with this kind of activity.
Following a nightly pre-sleep routine can help your brain to associate your bedroom with sleeping (which is why I recommend not to eat or work in your bedroom). Once you’ve trained your mind to recognise it’s time to slow down, you may find falling asleep much easier.
7. Avoid getting into an argument
Being angry or having a heated argument with your significant other (or anyone else) can severely affect your ability to nod off. Your bed should be a sanctuary where you feel calm and relaxed. Arguing leaves you feeling tense and flustered, so it will probably take you longer to fall asleep. Even worse, not getting enough sleep can make it hard to get through the next day: hello crankiness!
There is also a chance you will replay the argument over and over, which can reinforce the negative mood and keep you awake longer. If you feel yourself getting agitated at a situation or a person — remind yourself now is not the best time to act on it. Sleep it off and then pick up the conversation again in the morning.
8. Do your nightly skincare routine
In my recent blog where I talked about how I care for my skin, I stepped you through my morning and night time routine. I always moisturise my skin when I’m getting ready for bed, I love skincare so it feels pretty relaxing for me! The nice scent of your skincare products can also have a calming effect, which can help before bed.
9. Switch off your devices
Something I can’t recommend enough is putting down your electronics! This means turning off the TV, putting down your tablet, laptop, phone at least half an hour before you plan to sleep.
Technology can actually affect your ability to fall asleep by keeping your brain active. The light from the screens of electronic devices can disrupt the production of melatonin, a hormone that controls when you sleep and wake up. This makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
When you’re using your devices at bedtime you can stimulate thoughts and emotions that could keep you awake. If you read a negative email or message or see something exciting that gets you thinking and planning, it can be a lot harder to unwind and relax.
If you use your phone as your alarm, consider buying a separate alarm clock or at least ensuring that your phone is on ‘do not disturb’ so that you won’t be disturbed by notifications and messages during the night.
I know that it can be hard, but you have to resist the urge to check your phone after you switch it off for the night! A good night’s sleep will be totally worth it, and you can respond to any messages in the morning with a fresh outlook.
10. Regular exercise
Regular exercise, like my BBG program, has so many benefits, and one of these is that it will help you to sleep better!
Sleeping better not only helps you to recover faster from a workout, but it also makes you much happier for the next day. Adding exercise to your day, even something small like a walk has a really positive effect.
11. Allow enough time for sleep
When you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, this helps your body to get into a rhythm. For example, if you know that you have to get up at six o’clock most days during the week, plan to be in bed by ten o’clock so that there’s enough time to get a full eight hours rest.
Make sure that you start your evening routine early enough so you aren’t rushed to get into bed. Of course, it isn’t always possible to stick to a strict routine, but just do the best that you can!
12. Put your pets outside
I love a cuddle with my dogs as much as the next person (or even more!), but they don’t always understand the idea of quiet time. Sharing your bed with a pet may be comforting, but it’s not always good for a peaceful night’s sleep.
If your pet is a large breed, their movements can disrupt you during the night. There is a good chance you’ll notice every time they scratch, roll or make noise. Not to mention they can hog the covers, leaving you in an intense game of tug o’ war when you want to roll over!
13. Quiet your mind
Try some light meditation or spend some time reading. There are heaps of apps for meditation, like the Headspace app, that you can try. Doing a relaxing style of yoga like recovery yin yoga at night can also help you to clear your mind for a better sleep.
Try to stop worrying so much if you can’t fall asleep straight away, as this can often keep you awake as well. As with many concerns, a positive mindset can help to encourage a better quality of sleep.
Try these tips on how to sleep better for yourself!
A good night’s sleep can make a huge difference to your day and your workouts. Making time to follow a relaxing bedtime routine makes it easier to get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling happier the next day.
It’s so important to get a great night’s sleep at every stage of your life, so you can try my tips on how to sleep better when you are pregnant too.
What’s something you always do before bed to sleep better? Let me know in the comments!
* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.