You can’t beat a good night’s sleep
We know that a balanced diet and regular exercise are vital for our health, but can sometimes forget how important a good sleeping pattern is, too. Not only does sleeping well help to increase energy and improve focus, but studies also prove it is essential for keeping your immune system strong, building muscle and supporting heart health.
Whilst we can go on about the importance of a good night sleep, if you aren’t able to switch off at night knowing the benefits is not really going to help you. Below we have compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you wind down at bedtime, so you can reap the benefits of a good sleeping pattern for yourself.
Keep your natural body clock in check with light exposure
Our bodies have a natural clock that affects the brain, body and hormones, called the circadian rhythm. It helps to keep you awake as well as telling your body when it’s time to sleep, and natural sunlight can help to keep the circadian rhythm healthy. Various studies, including on of people with insomnia, found that daytime bright light exposure improved sleep quality.
Whilst bright light exposure during the day is beneficial, night time light exposure has the opposite effect as it tricks the circadian rhythm into thinking its day time. The biggest culprits for light exposure are smartphones and computers; there are a number of methods that can reduce blue light exposure from these devices, such as wearing blue light glasses and putting smartphones and laptops away two hours before bed time.
No late afternoon coffee
There are many benefits to caffeine, including improving focus and energy, however when consumed too late in the day it can stop the body from naturally relaxing at night. As caffeine can stay in the bloodstream for 6-8 hours, it is recommended to avoid coffee or any kind of caffeine after 4pm to improve sleep.
Regular exercise can help – but not too close to bedtime
Studies have found exercise to reduce symptoms of insomnia and improve all areas of sleep, in fact some studies found it to be more beneficial in people with severe insomnia than most drugs. However exercising too late in the day can have the opposite effect, due to its stimulatory effects, therefore exercising during daylight hours is likely to be most beneficial for sleep.
Following these tips should improve your quality of sleep and help you fall into a good night time routine, in turn improving your health – mentally and physically.