5 Ways to improve your sleep.

Getting a good night’s sleep is just as important for our health and wellbeing as having a healthy diet and getting regualr exercise.

Research has shown that poor sleep can have immediate negative effects on exercise performance, hormone levels and brain function.

Good sleep on the other hand, can help improve exercise performance, help you eat less and be generaly healthier.

Here are 5 tips to help you sleep better at night.

1. Control your light exposure.

Studies have shown that increasing your exposure to bright light during the day can have a positive effect on the quality of your sleep. These studies have mainly focused on people with severe sleep issues, but should also help improve your sleep if you have only moderate sleep problems.

The reason bright light exposure helps with sleep is becasue it helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. Circadian rhythm is also known as your body clock. This helps both night time sleep quality as well as daytime energy levels.

Conversely, reducing blue light exposure in the evening is also known to be beneficial to sleep. Blue light is emmited from electronic devices such as smartphones and computers. It has been shown to negatively effect your circadian rhythm by tricking your brain into thinking it is still daytime. This has an impact on hormone production and means certain relaxing hormones such as melatonin are reduced.

The best way of reducing the impact of blue light is to stop watching TV and turn off bright lights about 2 hours before going to bed.

2. Reduce caffeine intake late in the day.

Caffiene is known to have benefits such as increasing energy, focus and even sports performance. Unfortunately these energy boosting properties make it the enemy of good sleep. In one study it was shown consuming caffeine up to six hours before bed had a significant impact on sleep quality.

Caffeine has been shown to stay at elevated levels in the blood for upto 8 hours. Therefore caffeine intake after mid-afternoon is not recommended, especially if you are already having trouble sleeping.

3. Be consistent.

Your body’s circadian rhythm works in a set loop, aligning roughly with the sunrise and sunset. Becasue of this it is advisable to try and go to sleep and wake up at consistent times. It is tempting to go to bed and wake up later on the weekends, however studies have shown that those who have irregualr sleeping paterns and who go to bed later on the weekends have a lower quality of sleep.

4. Get the temperature right.

Body temperature has a massive impact on sleep quality. When it is too warm it can be very difficult to get to sleep, this is a problem that most people, even those that don’t normaly suffer from sleep problems, experience during the summer. Keeping your room at a constant temperature of around 70 degrees farenheit, or 20 degrees celcius, year round will help you sleep better.

5. Relax.

Instead of spending the last couple of hours before bed watching TV or spending time on your phones, it is advisable to spend some time relaxing each evening. Relaxing activities such as reading a book or taking a relaxing bath can lower your heart rate which is known to help you drift off into a deep sleep. Even if you don’t feel like taking a full bath before bed, you could try just bathing you feet in warm water.

Other techniques such as deep breathing and vizulization can also help you relax.

Sleep plays such a big role in our health that it should be made top priority if you wish to be in the best health you can be.

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Perfect insomnia

This post is a part of my series looking into health and what we can do to keep ourselves healthy, while still enjoying life.

Click below to access the hub page for the health series:

A push for perfect health


If insomnia is something that I am destined to suffer, then at least I can try and enjoy it. This current balmy weather we are experiencing in the UK is perfect for late night walks. Although having time to think is probably something that is dangerous for sufferers of anxiety, it is better to do it while out enjoying a nice walk than to lay in bed awake all night letting the demons in.

The worst thing I find with my insomnia is that it has such a huge impact on my behaviour, especially the way I act around other people. I have discussed these issues with my friends in the past but, although they are supportive, I’m not sure they are really equipped to understand. I don’t blame them for this, after all, there are many behaviours exhibited by others that I cannot understand. Even as a sufferer of anxiety and depression I have a hard time really understanding the way it affects others. If we cannot understand our own feelings we cannot really expect others to.

One of my biggest fears is that people, however much they say they love you and however many times they say you can always talk to them, will eventually get bored or fed-up with your problems. I have recently gone very quiet with my best friend because I am scared that I have told her too much. We don’t really speak other than to say hello, I am basically avoiding contact with her at this point. This is clearly unhealthy for a relationship, but I really don’t know how to deal with the situation. I am actually hoping I can get out and use my sleeplessness as some thinking time to try and deal with this issue.

Over time I have come to respect insomnia as something that can actually benefit me to some degree, after all, everything I have tried to fix it has failed, may as well embrace it.

Photo by Simon Robben from Pexels