By John Pedler
Last updated on: May 23, 2019 at 1:39 pm
Some people can doze off as soon as they’re horizontal. Others find that bedtime leads to dwelling on the day’s events, worrying about tomorrow, or staring intently at that tiny crack in the plaster which no doubt indicates the whole wall is about to collapse. If restful slumber doesn’t come easily, here are a few ways to help you get a good night’s sleep.
Take a hot shower or bath
Experts say our bodies naturally cool down in the late evening. This causes drowsiness and signals that it’s time to hit the sack. A hot bath or shower about 90 minutes before going to bed increases the body’s temperature, and the rapid cooling that follows accelerates the sleepiness effect.
However, a hot dip too close to bedtime can have the opposite effect, and you’re back to contemplating household maintenance. It’s all about timing.
Avoid blue light
Before the advent of artificial light, the setting of the sun pretty much marked the end of any activity. Late-night reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond were still a few centuries away, and Twitter was something birds did before they settled down for the evening.
But studies have revealed our modern ability to turn night into day can have a detrimental impact on the natural rhythms that control our 24-hour body clock.
All light can affect the body’s production of melatonin – a hormone that helps regulate the sleep cycle – but the blue light emitted by electrical screens seems to cause greater disruption.
So, even if you’re receiving an avalanche of Instagram likes, or you’re about to level up on Fortnite, it’s recommended that screen time ends at least 30 minutes before you slip under the covers.
Limit caffeine intake
Okay, maybe this one’s a no brainer. Those of us who enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning appreciate the pick-me-up effects of caffeine and also understand that being wide-eyed and bushy-tailed is rarely conducive to sleep.
But this much-celebrated stimulant lurks about in other foods and drinks as well. Stay clear of dark chocolate, cola, energy drinks and black tea well before attempting to get some shut-eye.
Regular exercise is a great stress reliever, which can have significant benefits when it comes to getting a decent kip.
Again, timing is key. Some people can fall asleep immediately after a vigorous workout and wake in the morning refreshed.
Many people, though, need a 2-3 hour break after exercise before heading to bed. This gives the body plenty of time to simmer down from post-exercise stimulation.