- Develop a routine
The body likes routines. Get up at the same time each day, go to bed at the same time each day. This will help to regulatethe release of hormones involved in sleep (melatonin, adrenocorticotrophic hormone, cortisol)
- Turn off screens
The blue light emitted from electronic devices interferes with production of melatonin, which makes us feel sleepy. If we are engrossed in our phone or laptop, we can ignore the ‘sleepy’ signals our body tries to tell us.
If you like to fall asleep to the sound of a TV, try listening to a podcast or the radio. At the very least, completely dim laptop screens and listen to the audio. Streaming services like Stan and Netflix allow you to change the settings to turn off ‘auto play next episode’. Don’t get caught at 2am still binge watching Orange is the New Black.
- Check your sleeping posture
When laying on your side your neck should be horizontal on the pillow. If you sleep with an arm under your pillow it means you need a higher pillow.
The best positions for sleep are on your back, or on your side. If you must sleep on your tummy, do not use a pillow – it will jam up the joints in your neck.
- Create a cave
Your bedroom needs to be dark – no bright neon alarm clock, cover those red standby lights, buy black out blinds. Set the right temperature for sleep – slightly colder is better.
- Consider what you do during the day
While a mid-afternoon coffee delivers a pick me up, caffeine can exert its effect on the body for 10 hours! If sleep is an issue, avoid coffee after midday.
Try not to nap during the day. Napping does not make up for the hours of sleep we missed the night before… it causes the following nights sleep to be worse.
If you must nap, set an alarm so you sleep no longer than 10-20 minutes.