girl sleeps on pillow

7 tips to improve your sleep

Check out my blog post for The Collective:

Feeling sluggish, restless and just generally blah? Winter is in full swing, and it’s known to have a detrimental effect on your sleep. Due to the cold weather and shorter days with less sunshine that the blustery season always brings, it’s no surprise that your sleep suffers as a consequence. And when you’re not well rested, you’re not at your best. If you’re getting less than seven hours of sleep nightly, you’re at a higher risk for damage to your mental and physical health. This week at The Collective, we’re hearing about the importance of sleep and tools for healthy shuteye from wellbeing support organisation CiC. Here, they share their top 7 tips to improve your sleep.

Start your day with a healthy breakfast. It’s important to eat breakfast within 30-45 minutes of waking, to jumpstart your metabolism with a burst of energy. Eating soon after waking, even something small and nutritious like a banana with low-fat yoghurt, signals to your brain that you’re nourished and it’s time to get the day rolling. Eating early can have a positive impact on your night’s sleep.

Hydrate throughout the day. Not only does it hydrate you, but drinking water also flushes out toxins and waste. Your sleep will become more refreshing and you’ll wake up more energetic and alert – and find yourself relying less on that snooze button. Try drinking 1 litre per day for three weeks to start, and then work your way up to 2 and then 3 litres daily.

Unplug before bed. Come down from the Cloud and shut off all your electronic devices an hour before bedtime. Stimulation from your mobile phone, laptop or tablet, including the blue light from your screens, can disrupt your wind down process, making it difficult to let your brain know it’s time for bed. Light can also prevent your melatonin levels from rising, which you need to fall asleep and reach deep, restorative rest. Switch off your devices so you can switch off your mind too.

Don’t check the time. It’s that annoying moment when you wake suddenly in the middle of the night – you check the time on your phone, which leads to checking your texts, social media, emails and next thing you know, you’re wide awake. Resist the urge to wake up your mind and instead, close your eyes and try deep breathing to ease yourself back to sleep.

Try white noise. Some sensitive sleepers swear by whale sounds, rainforest tracks or other types of white noise. It can drown out smaller sounds that may cause you to stir, and the rhythmic sounds of a fan can be soothing for fussy sleepers. Try the White Noise app, free to use on both Android and iOS.

Avoid stimulants. You’ve heard it before – that cosy evening tea could be keeping you up at night. Stay away from caffeine, nicotine and refined sugars after 5pm to avoid poor sleep and a fatigue cycle, and allow your body to detox before bed for a restful night’s sleep.

Move more. Exercise and movement during the day leads to better sleep. Physical activity causes the body to produce adenosine, which helps curb the adrenaline that could be keeping you awake. Plus, exercise is a great way to work off that buzzing energy keeping you up at night and even boost overall health. Win-win-win.

CiC will give their talk, ‘Sleep your way to wellness’, at 8pm, Thursday 7th February at The Collective Old Oak. Members, head to the app to sign up.

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