A bad night’s sleep can leave you grouchy and fatigued and that’s no way to spend your day, but nurturing good sleeping habits can lead to a myriad of health benefits including a stronger immune system, reduced inflammation and easier weight loss. Here are three key habits to start your way to a better night’s rest:
1. Stay on schedule
Keeping a regular sleeping routine, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, helps your body keep a healthy rhythm. Going to bed at night and getting up in the morning will feel more natural. Different people have different sleep requirements but in general all adults should try to get 8-9 hours of sleep every night.
2. Wind down and Wake up
At night, give yourself time to wind down after a busy day. It can be hard to switch off immediately and fall asleep. Try getting ready for bed an hour before you actually want to sleep. Take a warm shower, turn off all electronic devices, have a hot drink, read a book or dim your lights. In the morning, the same applies. Signal to your body that it’s time to wake up and be alert. Get some natural daylight, have a healthy breakfast, move around and get some fresh air. F.lux is an interesting software which adjusts the colours of your computer to the time of day, so the display is warm at night and like sunlight in the morning.
3. Eat right
Caffeine can disrupt your sleep cycle so aim to stop all caffeinated beverages by 2pm. Caffeine could also be hiding in your midnight snacks. All chocolate contains caffeine, as the stimulant is naturally present in cocoa beans. Foods that contain tryptophan like nuts and hummus are better for evening snacks. Bananas are also a good option, as the magnesium and potassium in them act as nerve and muscle relaxants. Bananas also contain Vitamin B6, which converts tryptophan into serotonin, increasing relaxation and restfulness.