17 Mar 6 Simple Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep
19th March 2021
6 Simple Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep
We’re all familiar with the concept of ‘getting a good night’s sleep’ but did you know that poor sleep is linked with high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (cholesterol-clogged arteries), heart failure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and obesity? This year, we’re joining the ‘regular sleep for a healthy future’ campaign with World Sleep Day by suggesting these simple tips for a better night’s sleep:
1. Stick to a sleep schedule
The NHS recommends that a regular bedtime routine will help you wind down and prepare for bed. It programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine. According to the National Sleep Foundation all adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. By working out what time you need to wake up, you can set a regular bedtime schedule. It may sound simple but waking up at the same time every day trains your body into sleep routine.
2. Make time to relax
Stress can impact your life in many ways, including negatively affecting the quality of your sleep. Your bedtime routine should be relaxing, the goal is to wind your mind and body down for sleep. Why not try the following:
- Taking a warm bath
Research published in Sleep Medicine Reviews has found that having a soak in a hot bath 90 minutes before bedtime could help you fall asleep more quickly, as it will help your body reach a temperature that’s ideal for rest
- Try relaxation exercises such as stretching, meditation or yoga
Stretching, Meditation and Yoga are all liked to sleep improvement through tension relief in your muscles, helping you to relax and setting you up for a restful slumber. By relaxing your body, you increase melatonin levels which reduces your heart rate and decreases your blood pressure.
3. Get out in the sun
Exposure to natural light during the day, as well as darkness at night, helps to maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle. A study of people working in office buildings found that those in windowless environments tended to experience poorer sleep quality than those who got to see the sun during the workday. A daily dose of natural daylight isn’t just important for our sleep patterns. Light triggers changes in the brain that make us feel happier. When the body recognises sunlight (which reaches the brain via the optic nerve) levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin increase. Our recommendation is to try and get outside in natural sunlight for at least thirty minutes each day.
4. Switch off
Switching off your phone and television a couple of hours before you sleep seems simple, but the effects of doing so shouldn’t be underestimated. Exposure to Blue light – which is largely transmitted from laptops and phones – affects your circadian rhythm and reduces melatonin production, which helps you to relax into a deep sleep. Many of us spend most of our day on our phones or laptops, so why not use those precious couple of hours before bed to completely switch off and unwind.
5. Limit or avoid caffeine before bedtime
These is an association between the daily intake of caffeine, sleep problems and daytime sleepiness. So, if you’re struggling to sleep, it’s important to think about how much caffeine you take in during the day. In excess amounts, caffeine overuse can trigger a fast heart rate, insomnia, anxiety and restlessness. We know that caffeine stays in the body for several hours. 4-6 hours after you’ve had a cup of coffee for example, your body has only removed half of it. Therefore, if you have a cup of tea or coffee within a few hours of bedtime, the caffeine will still be having an effect when you go to bed.
6. Create a restful sleeping environment
Your bedroom should be a peaceful place for rest and sleep. Temperature, lighting and noise should be controlled so that your bedroom environment helps you to fall (and stay) asleep. The NHS recommend that your bedroom ideally needs to be dark, quiet, tidy and be kept at a temperature of between 18 and 24 °C .This allows you to lose body heat throughout the night, which is essential for good sleep. If you don’t have a thermostat to precisely control the temperature of your bedroom, you can use a fan or, depending on the season, open a window to adjust the temperature.
How we can help you?
Identifying the very first signs and risks of disease can help prevent health problems that may be on the horizon. Randox Health aim to do this before the appearance of unpleasant symptoms or illness. Prevention is better than looking for a cure. Long term sleep deprivation may have caused damage to your health, our packages tests for up to 350 different biomarkers.
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