Five tips for getting to sleep quick smart

Registered Nurse and Mindfulness Expert at Bupa UK
09 December 2015
Man unable to sleep

Can’t sleep? Fear not – with some small changes to your evening routine, you could soon be falling asleep faster and sleeping better.

It’s 11.30pm. You’re still awake, longing for that elusive moment when your eyelids start to feel heavy. But you keep watching the minutes tick over; your body is not succumbing. You become more annoyed and more awake as you urge yourself to fall asleep, to no avail.

If this sounds familiar, these five tips could help you fall asleep faster and get a better night’s sleep.

1. Have a warm relaxing bath

Sleep research suggests that body temperature may play an important role in helping you sleep. Just before you fall asleep, your body temperature drops slightly. This helps your body to save energy while you sleep, but it may also help you fall asleep.

Having a shower or bath just before you go to bed can help to raise and then lower your body temperature, mimicking this process. And it’s a good excuse to enjoy a warm, relaxing bath at the end of a long day!

2. Banish technology from the bedroom

Melatonin is a hormone produced in your brain in response to light levels. It helps to regulate your sleep patterns. At night when it’s dark, your body produces high levels of melatonin which help to tell your body that it’s time to sleep. In the morning when the Sun starts to rise, your body produces less melatonin. This prompts you to wake up.

Try to limit your exposure to light before you go to bed. This means not watching TV or using computers, tablets and mobile phones. The blue light from the screens reduces the amount of melatonin the brain creates, making it harder for you to fall asleep.

Once you’re awake, have a ‘natural espresso’ by going outdoors into the sunlight. This limits the amount of melatonin your brain produces, helping you to wake up. But don’t forget to be sun smart!

3. Avoid the urge to nap or sleep in

Going to sleep at about the same time each night can help to set your internal ‘body clock’ (circadian rhythm). This will help you to create a regular sleep pattern.

Try not to lie in over the weekend, or have a nap during the day. This can disturb your sleep pattern making it harder for you to fall asleep at night.

4. Put down the coffee

Stimulants such as coffee, tea, alcohol and cigarettes can stimulate your brain and nervous system and keep you awake. So try not to have them just before you go to bed.

5. Practise mindful sleep

If you find yourself lying in bed at night worrying and unable to fall asleep, why not try to wind down mentally first? Calm your thoughts and prepare your mind for sleep. Listening to quiet music, reading a book or even practising relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, can help.

It’s no secret that a good night’s slumber can help you feel fresh and energised. But sleep is also vital for healthy living. Scientists don’t know exactly why we need to sleep but research suggests it may help to keep your immune system strong. It may also promote growth and help enhance your memory – all the more reason to master the act of falling asleep!

Even healthy people become unwell sometimes. Health insurance can help you get prompt access to the treatment and support you need to help you get back on the road to recovery. Learn more with our useful guide to understanding health insurance.

Jane Bozier
Registered Nurse and Mindfulness Expert at Bupa UK

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