5 Ways to Switch Off and Have a Good Night's Sleep

Acquiring quality sleep is needed for your body to revitalise and it serves as an active period in which a lot of important bodily function processing takes place. But what happens when you find yourself finding it difficult to get to sleep? Whether it’s because your sleeping environment is too hot or cold, you’re not feeling sleepy or your mind is wandering, we’ve collated some top tips to help you get a good night’s rest…

Adopt an Active Lifestyle

Exercise isn’t just great for your body in terms of getting in shape and boosting your internal health, it’s also a great sleeping aid. Research has shown that the more vigorous the exercise, the more powerful the sleep benefits. With this being said, light fitness, such as a ten-minute walk, can also improve sleep quality. 

Take a look at our blog post: ‘Is sleep important for your health’ to learn more about sleep and the well-being benefits. 

Be Smart with Food and Drink

The majority of us love a cup of tea or coffee in the morning – which is fine for a wake up boost, but having more than the recommended daily amount of caffeine can have detrimental impacts on sleeping patterns. How? Caffeine is a type of drug that encourages alertness – it is known as a ‘stimulant’ – this stimulant blocks the adenosine receptor, which stops you from feeling tired. Top tip: it’s okay to have a morning cuppa or coffee but listen to your body and know when enough is enough. If you’re having trouble sleeping,

it’s a good idea to cut your caffeine intake down considerably. Avoid drinking caffeine after 12pm – the longer you leave it between your last caffeine hit and sleeping, the more chance you have of catching some zzz’s.  In terms of hard foods; protein, whole grains, fruit and chocolate all act as a stimulant and keep your body from feeling tired. This is great for when you wake up but doesn’t help too much when you’re trying to sleep. Avoid eating any of these foods before you put your head down for the night.

Avoid Alcohol

This may or may not apply to you, but if you’re someone who loves a drink before bed, you may want to hold back on the vino if you’re having trouble getting to sleep. Drinking alcohol limits your time in the deep (REM) stage of sleep, and because of this, leaves you feeling more ‘groggy’ the next day. Not only this - drinking heavily

can cause you to get up multiple times in the night to go to the toilet. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it encourages the body to lose extra fluid through sweat – leaving you dehydrated and grouchy.
Top tip: avoid booze before bed, especially if you’re looking to get a good night’s kip.

Take a Relaxing Shower / Bath

Studies have shown that taking a warm bath, shower, or even a warm foot bath, can help you relax before bed – which improves your overall sleep quality. This is because warming your body by taking a bath or shower can help induce sleep when there’s enough time to cool off.

Avoid Sleeping in - Even at Weekends

We all love to sleep in at the weekend to re-fuel our bodies, but is this causing more harm than it is beneficial? The more your sleep schedule differs – the worse jet-lag symptoms you’ll experience. What are these symptoms? 

  • Mood changes

  • Insomnia - difficulty sleeping, including disturbed sleep

  • Feeling 'under the weather'

  • Daytime fatigue

  • Headaches and aches / pains 

  • Irritability 

Alarm clock

Sleeping in can throw your body’s internal clock off track – which sets you up for having trouble falling asleep when it’s really needed (for example, the night before a long day at work). Not only will you incur short-term jet lag symptoms, you’ll also experience ‘social jet lag’, long-term, which is a mismatch between your circadian rhythm and your socially driven plan. With social jet lag comes health implications such as increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

De-stress yourself

Stress plays a major part when it comes to insomnia and having trouble getting to sleep. It’s therefore important to reduce your stress levels and leave your worries behind before you hop into bed for the night. But, how?

•    Take a hot bath or shower before bed – doing so relaxes your muscles and in turn your mind
•    Try breathing exercises – taking just a few deep breaths can help to reduce tension (thanks to the boost of oxygen)

•    Put down your phone and social media – social media use before bed has been linked to increased stress and poor sleeping patterns
•    Try drinking peppermint tea – the menthol that is present in the herb is known to relax muscles

Turn your Bedroom into your Happy Place

Taking the time to de-clutter, clean and organise your room is just one way of reducing stress and giving you a clear head. It’s proven that sleeping environment has a big impact on sleep quality. If you have trouble sleeping, it may be time for a bedroom makeover. Get rid of the clutter, take a fresh brush of white paint to your walls and invest in some room plants.

House plants allow you to breathe easier, they purify air and they boost healing. Time to make your bedroom a place of serenity and relaxation!

Clean bed headboard with cushions and a plant
Choose Health Insurance

Getting the quality sleep that your body requires is one way of staying healthy, but what are you to do with health implications that are out of your hands? By acquiring the right health insurance policy, you can feel more relaxed knowing that you’re covered – should any health implications arise.

Here at THIS, we can find you the right health insurance policy, for the right price – guaranteed! Contact our expert team on 0808 10 18 999, or simply fill in our online form to get a call back.

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