The A-Z Sleep Tips To Help You Drift Off
If you struggle to get a good night’s sleep and find yourself tossing and turning throughout the night, you are not alone! According to the Sleep Foundation, over 35% of adults sleep for less than 7 hours a night and almost 50% say that they feel sleepy during the day.
To help you make up for lost time, we have pulled together a full A-Z guide brimming with sleep tips so you can help your body unwind in the evening and drift off into a quality snooze, waking up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day.
A – ASMR
Activating regions of the brain associated with sleep-inducing hormones, exposure to ASMR can produce a calming effect to reduce stress, promote relaxation and help you fall asleep. Sounds such as crashing waves, whispering and even hair brushing have been shown to help people drift off, prompting the production of melatonin to help control the sleep cycle.
B – Bed
Your bed should be an inviting place for unwinding so clear the area of any clutter, creating your own little bubble which you look forward to tucking up into. Getting into the habit of making your bed each morning and ensuring you are regularly changing your bed sheets will make a huge difference, not only making the room look tidy, but helping your body get into a regular sleep routine.
C – Cut down the caffeine
Caffeine is known to lead to sleeplessness, anxiety and a poorer sleep quality so ditch that cuppa in the evening. Although you may look forward to cosying up with your favourite coffee and reading a nice book or watching TV, this can really impact the process of falling asleep and lead to an irritable night. Instead, switch to a calming cup of tea (chamomile and lavender teas are our favourites!).
D – Ditch devices
In the hour leading up to shut eye, put your devices on charge and try to resist scrolling through social media and news outlets as these can leave your thoughts whirring. Many people admit to checking their emails or replying to messages as they lay in bed but this habit can actually be detrimental to your health from both a physical and mental perspective.
E – Exercise
From a leisurely stroll to a spot of yoga, gentle exercise in the evening is great for switching off and clearing your mind so you can drift off into a relaxing sleep. By whipping on the gym gear an hour or two before you hit the hay, release those endorphins and burn off any of that built up energy so you can tire out the body to make for a great night of sleep.
F – Food
Your diet can have a huge impact on your quality of sleep. In the lead up to bedtime, stay clear of alcohol, sugary snacks and greasy foods with a high fat content as these can temporarily provide an energy rush which will make falling asleep trickier than ever. Instead, opt for nuts, malted milk products or a kiwi fruit if you fancy a night time snack.
G – Glasses
For those who wear glasses, it is normal to feel sleepy after taking off glasses since the eye has to strain in order to see things properly. Depending on the quality of your eye sight, you may notice a correlation between taking off your glasses and drifting off as your body naturally stops focusing on what it can see, being ideal for winding down in the evening.
H – Hemp
Being a popular supplement for those who struggle to get a good night’s sleep, hemp is a natural alternative to traditional pain medication as it helps the body unwind. Especially if you struggle to switch off from the whirring thoughts going through your mind, taking CBD products in the evening is great for helping the body relax.
I – Inner Peace
Ground your mind by rationalising your thoughts and putting a more positive spin on your thoughts. Reflecting on the good things in your life is a great way to ease any feelings of stress or anxiety, helping the mind switch off from any negative things you may have got hung up on so you can naturally drift off into a calming sleep.
J – Journey
Your sleep journey allows you to reflect on everything in your life ranging from health to travel, realising how impactful each thing is when it comes to your sleep quality. By spending the time analysing the variables which may contribute to your sleep struggles, you can make small lifestyle changes and measure any differences they make.
K – Keep a sleep schedule
Routine is everything so maintaining as much consistency as possible when it comes to your sleep pattern can help your body clock adjust to your lifestyle. By heading off to bed at the same time every evening and giving your body around half an hour to wind down as you read a book or reflect on the day, the routine will naturally prompt your body to drift off.
L – Lighting
Introducing dim lighting into the bedroom will minimise your exposure to bright lights which can help you unwind before you turn off the light completely. Creating a cosy atmosphere with dimmer lighting will mean you naturally start to feel sleepier instead of having to use the bright main light and get out of bed to turn it off when you’re ready to sleep.
M – Meditate
Getting into the habit of meditating during your evening routine will help you connect with your inner self and achieve a feeling of zen, clearing the mind at the end of the day. If you’re new to meditation, there are plenty of video sources online which will guide you through the process so you can follow an expert and know where to start.
N – No naps
If you’re someone who struggles with sleep quality, napping during the day can be incredibly detrimental as it will disrupt your ability to drift off when the night comes around. As much as it can be tempting to curl up in bed during that afternoon slump, resist the urge as you will sleep better at night when your body is more tired and thank yourself in the morning.
O – Optimisation
Sleep optimisation is the process of adapting your body to a better routine, training it to switch off when you get into bed at a certain time so you can improve quality. For those who struggle with sleep, putting that extra effort into heading to bed at the same time each night and waking up at similar times will align your body clock.
P – Pillow
Finding the best pillow for your needs will make all the difference, adjusting to your body type by aligning the upper body as you sleep and relieving any pressure points. Some people prefer a firm pillow while others prefer a softer one, so be sure to sample different options to establish the most comfortable solution for you.
Q – Quiet environment
Having no background noise to distract you will help you drift off quicker, creating a soothing environment which doesn’t disturb your senses when you are trying to rest. If you have noisy neighbours, loud traffic going by or family members who are still awake, it may be beneficial to try out ear plugs to block out any distractions from around you.
R – Reading
Helping you switch off from a hectic day by immersing you into a storyline, reading a book before you sleep will ease any tensions and minimise stress levels. When it’s time to wind down, put down the devices and allow 30 minutes to an hour of reading time, forgetting about any problems and giving the body the chance it needs to relax fully.
S – Sleep mask
For light sleepers, the addition of a sleep mask can make a big difference if you find you get awoken by natural light in the mornings. If you are sensitive to the light streaming in your bedroom, blackout curtains or blinds would be a great addition but these can come with a cost so start with a simple eye mask to establish how much of a difference it makes.
T – Temperature
Finding the ideal temperature to sleep in, normally around 18°C, will minimise interruptions during the night as your body maintains a comfortable temperature. There’s nothing worse than waking up hot and fidgety during the night as this can disrupt your sleep quality and leave you feeling restless, so pick out the right duvet weight and set the thermostat accordingly.
U – Under the duvet
Covering your body with a duvet will create a comfortable and cosy environment. As humans, we love the feeling of protection so the soft covering works wonders. Looking for hypoallergenic duvets are perfect for those with sensitive skin and they wick away moisture to keep you cool and dry during warmer nights.
V – Visualise happy thoughts
As we lay in bed with nothing but our thoughts around us, any negativity that sneaks through can prevent us from falling asleep so actively replay your favourite memories. Whether you take your mind back to fun family days out, think about your upcoming holiday plans or simply ask yourself what you’re grateful for today, keep your mind focused on the positives.
W – Weighted blanket
Being a great addition for those who struggle with anxiety, the addition of a weighted blanket is shown to provide comfort and create the feeling of security. Even using it for a few minutes at a time is shown to reduce the feeling of anxiety so you can either sleep with it all throughout the night or just in shorter intervals if preferred.
X – Sex
Canoodling before bed with a loved one is a great way to get to sleep as it releases oxytocin, the hormone that increases feelings of contentment. By reducing stress and creating a feeling of satisfaction, you and your partner can enjoy a passionate evening under the sheets before drifting off into a well earnt snooze.
Y – Yoga
Practising mindfulness before hitting the hay will help slow the heart rate and reduce blood pressure, encouraging deep breathing to calm the body down after a busy day. Whether you’re a long term yoga lover or have never tried it before, there are plenty of online tutorials you can follow for your ability level.
Z – Zoning out
Often associated with anxiety, the feeling of zoning out will leave you feeling disconnected and can often be a symptom of sleep deprivation. When you zone out, you will often find yourself carrying out everyday activities on autopilot and this is a sign that your body needs to catch up on sleep, so listen to the cues!