Yesterday, I told you about why being asleep is just as vital to the body and brain as being awake is, using the work and words of Professor Matthew Walker.
I’ve given tips to support sleep before… Way back when, I blogged my own top 10 tips on getting to sleep and more recently, I suggested 5 mindfulness techniques to help in either falling asleep, or when your brain wakes you up long before your alarm.
Today, I’m going to stick with leading sleep expert and neuroscientist, Professor Matthew Walker, offering you a breakdown of his top 5 tips for a good nights’ sleep.
- Strive to wake up and go to sleep at the same time everyday. Your body and brain rely on patterns, rhythms and regularity – routine might seem boring, but it’s a key part of sleeping well and feeling at your best each day.
- Ensure that your bedroom is dark and gadget-free. Matthew suggests dimming lights in the house an hour or two before bed, and restricting screen-time before bed, allowing Melatonin (the hormone needed for good quality sleep) to build up.
- Sleep in a cool room – around 18 degrees celcius – to support your body in dropping its temperature to fall asleep.
- If you wake up and really can’t sleep… get out of bed. If you spend hours trying to force sleep in bed when you’re wide awake, your brain may connect your bedroom with a place of wakefulness. Take yourself off and read a book until you’re sleep again and can return to bed.
- Watch your caffeine and alcohol consumption if you want to actually feel refreshed in the morning. Avoid caffeine after 2pm as this stimulant not only makes it harder to sleep, but also reduces sleep quality without you even knowing. Sadly, it might also be time to drop the boozy ‘night-cap’ – while alcohol might appear to help you drift off, its sedative effects are extremely detrimental to both the patterns and quality of your sleep.
If you’d rather hear it from Matthew himself, he explains it in this 5 minute video:
If you’re a big fan of a tipple before bed, a coffee with dinner and checking messages before bed, it might seem like this is too much…. but remember yesterday’s blog – sleep is the foundation of all good health.
So maybe just ditch one of those habits at first. And begin to notice if you do in fact feel any more recharged in the morning and less tired throughout the day.
Sweet dreams! xx