A person fast asleep in a dark room with no tv

Discover Tried and Tested Techniques to Achieve Quality Sleep

Tips to help you sleep better 

If you struggle with insomnia, you know first-hand how frustrating it can be to lie awake at night, staring at the ceiling and counting the hours until morning. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. 70 million people suffer from insomnia every year, and that is just in America. Luckily, there are quite a few strategies that you can use to help improve your sleep quality. Some are easy to slot into your lifestyle, others may take a little more effort. But, getting a decent night’s sleep will make it all worthwhile. So let’s dive in.  

Regular exercise

Suffering from insomnia can be frustrating and debilitating. If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, you may feel groggy and irritable during the day. It may sound counterintuitive, but there is a simple solution: exercise. Getting regular exercise can help you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. Exercise can also improve sleep quality, increase energy levels, and reduce stress. You don’t need to spend hours in the gym, any kind of exercise for just 30 minutes a day will do the trick. Furthermore, exercise can help to regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycles. Even a light workout can make a big difference. Just make sure you exercise on a regular basis to get the benefit.  

On top of that, exercise is great for your overall health and well-being. Just be careful not to exercise too late in the day as this can stimulate the brain and endorphins. That might make you feel good, but it won’t help you fall asleep. 

Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed to improve sleep 

While there are many potential causes of insomnia, one common trigger is consuming caffeine or alcohol before bed. Caffeine is a stimulant that can make it difficult to fall asleep and cause frequent awakenings during the night. This is because it blocks the release of adenosine, a chemical that is produced by the body to induce sleepiness. Another reason we may struggle to fall asleep, after we have had a caffeinated drink is that it interferes with our body clock. 

Alcohol, on the other hand, is a depressant  and so may help you fall asleep initially, but it can lead to restlessness and disruptive sleep later in the night. Therefore, if you want to improve your sleep it’s best to stick to non-caffeinated and alcohol-free drinks in the evening. 

Avoid screens before bedtimeBlue light blocking glasses prevent the damage to your body clock from blue light from screens

Another factor that may be contributing to your sleep difficulties is your screen time before bed. Studies have shown that exposure to bright light from television screens and other devices can disrupt our circadian rhythms and make it difficult for us to fall asleep. In addition, the short-wavelength blue light emitted by these devices is particularly troublesome for our sleep cycles.  

Put that phone down

To help improve sleep try cutting back on your screen time in the evenings. This could mean leaving your mobile phone in another room when you go to bed and avoiding watching television an hour before you go to bed. If neither of those options appeals to you, you can get blue light-blocking apps on your phone or wear blue light-blocking glasses.  

Try relaxation techniques before bedtime 

Another way to improve sleep is to try reading a book (not on a screen for obvious reasons), having a relaxing bubble bath or snuggling up with your partner before bed-time. This is because they are calming activities that can help you wind down and relax. Sticking to a regular night-time routine has been proven to help your body get ready for sleep.  

Establish a routine before bedtime  

Habits are incredibly powerful, and having a bed-time routine just like when you were a child can work wonders. This can include having that relaxing bath, but also involves having a regular bedtime and sticking to it. You should also, preferably, get up at the same time. This includes weekends and days off.  You may struggle with this to begin with, but once you have a regular routine you will be astonished how much it helps to improve sleep.

Use apps to help you sleepMindfulness mediation can improve sleep

Sometimes it is hard to get to sleep if you are distracted with anxiety or worried about something. If you struggle with counting sheep or trying to relax on your own, an app might be the answer. A particularly useful method is a meditation app such as Headspace, or Balance. These take you step-by-step through various strategies, and before you know it, you will be sleeping soundly.  

Alternatively, you can try listening to white noise or binaural beats apps to shift your focus away from your worries and create a soothing background sound.  

Your bedroom should be cool, dark, and quiet  

When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, your bedroom environment is crucial. The optimal sleeping environment is cool, dark, and quiet, as these conditions help to trigger the ideal physiological state for restful sleep. For example, keeping your bedroom temperature at around 60⁰F is ideal for inducing deep sleep. One way to keep the bedroom cool is to make sure it is ventilated. Throw open a window and allow some fresh air to come in. This helps to make the environment even more conducive to sleeping soundly. 

Additionally, a dark room sets the stage for maximum melatonin release and reduces stimulation from outside light sources. To ensure a darkened room, black-out blinds are a good investment. And finally, making sure that there are no sounds or distractions in your bedroom also helps promote deeper sleep. Ear-plugs can make sure that you block out any noises that may be present, such as a snoring partner. With all of these tips working together, you can be sure that you will fall asleep faster and snooze through the night uninterrupted.  

Go campingSleeping outdoors resets circadian rhythm

There are many different ways to cure insomnia. However, one of the most effective and enjoyable options is going camping. Camping has a number of unique qualities that can help to put the mind at ease and induce a state of calm and restful sleep. For one thing, spending time outdoors in nature has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health, reducing feelings of stress and anxiety. Being away from the distractions of modern technology and other urban conveniences, campers can sit around the camp-fire and chat with no worries about the effects of blue light or EMFs.

Reset your sleep/wake cycle

Finally, being out in nature helps to reset your circadian rhythm by exposing you to natural daylight and the cycles of light and dark. Getting exposure to daylight first thing in the morning is not only a great way to start the day but can also have a profound effect on your sleep/wake cycle, helping to improve sleep. Whether it’s an extended backpacking trip or just a day hike with your family, a camping trip can be the perfect way to cure your insomnia and enjoy restful slumber once again. 

There are many different ways to cure insomnia, from taking exercise to letting some fresh air into your bedroom, to doing regular exercise or having a camping holiday. Whichever method you try, stick with it and insomnia will be a thing of the past. 

If you would like more information and support with your sleep and how it affects weight management contact me now for an informal chat or to learn more about my one-to-one nutrition programes or my 8-week weight management course