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How to Get a Better Nights Sleep

A few simple steps to help you sleep better.

 

Many of us struggle from time to time to switch off and get a really good nights sleep.

 

Getting a good nights sleep is important to enable you to feel more rested and ready for the next day. If you do not get enough sleep, you may become fatigued and irritable. This can affect everything from your course work to your social life and could even have an effect on your health. You may even find that you are able to lead a more productive and happier life once you have had enough sleep to recharge your batteries.

Try some of our tips to soothe yourself into a peaceful slumber -

  1. Avoid spicy foods after 7pm as much as possible. Spicy food can increase blood pressure and cause problems with digestion, which can hinder your ability to get a good night's sleep.  
  2. Caffeine - look hard at how much caffeine you are consuming. If its too much to cut it out completely, try to limit your intake to so many cups of coffee a day and never after 5pm. You might even save some money! 
  3. Herbal teas that can help you get the rest you need. Some of these are chamomile, lavender, valerian, lemon balm, and St. John's wort. When choosing herbal teas to help you sleep, look for ones that have a high antioxidant content. In addition, herbal teas that have got high Vitamin E content are very effective for helping you sleep. They also rejuvenate the body and help you feel more energetic in the morning.
  4. It is important that you avoid food that is high in sugar when you are trying to sleep. Sugar causes your body to crave food when it is tired and has been awake for several hours. High fructose fruits, sweets, baked goods, and sugary drinks should also be avoided before bed. These foods can keep you up all night!
  5. It’s important to make sure you have a good amount of exercise before starting to unwind and heading to bed. Yoga can help centre and calm your mind and body.  Exercising regularly helps you reduce stress and tension which can contribute to a poor night's sleep. Try to fit in at least thirty minutes of brisk walking or jogging during the day, every day, if possible.
  6. In order to sleep, your body needs to be free of stimulants and distractions that keep your brain running at a high speed. Make sure you clear your head and switch off the TV, laptop, phone, and tablet a good few hours before bed. The blue light emitted from electronic screens can suppress the levels of melatonin you are producing which directly effects your sleep. Blue light filters can help and are available via various apps.  
  7. Try taking a warm bath and listening to soft music before you go to bed. To help your body switch off a warm bath then a cool environment helps you fall and stay asleep. The perfect room temp to maintain peaceful sleep is 18.3°C. 
  8. Aromatherapy can help you relax and induce sleep. Affordable diffusers are available that gently permeate the air with essential oils - lavender, camomile, bergamot, sweet orange, valerian, lemon, rose, cedar can all aid sleep.    
  9. Massage can also help you to relax your body and mind. If you can’t run to a full body massage (which most of us can’t!) even just massaging your own feet and hands with an essential oil (in a suitable carrier oil) can really help unwind.
  10. Meditation helps many people compartmentalise their day by setting aside worries and anxieties to free the mind for a peaceful sleep. Repeating a simple phrase quietly to yourself can be the simplest for of meditation. Focusing on the formation and rhythmic tone of the words soothes the mind. 

These methods are simple and easy to do. They do require some discipline, but they can be very effective if carried out every single night. You may find that it takes a few nights to get into the swing, but after a few days, you will hopefully find that you can fall asleep easily and sleep straight through the night.

If you are really struggling to sleep it is worth considering speaking to your GP - particularly if its a new experience. Any big changes in your health and wellbeing should always be discussed with a medical professional before you begin to try and fix it yourself to rule out anything more serious. 

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