Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Top tips to sleep better – how to get a good night’s sleep

One of my (many) things on the to-do list for 2014 was sleep more. I have always fallen culprit to the “work hard, play hard” mantra meaning that when I go to catch up on sleep at the weekend, I often end up having less than during the week! Not only that, but my body has this irritating habit of ‘waking up’ at night so I end up not being able to get to sleep, ending up milling about at midnight. Same to for my housemate Kris who I often bump into in the corridor at night as if we’re a pair of lost souls!

So I stuck it on the to-do list to make a conscious effort to get more zzz’s in but also for a better quality of sleep all round (after all 7 hours of decent sleep is surely better than 9 hours of broken fidgety sleep, right?).

So far, so good. I did a bit of research about some top tips and I have managed to clock in 7-8 hours of shut eye each night. The recommended amount!

If anyone else is like me, then I want to share with you my top tips I have discovered – they’ve worked for me so I hope they work for you!

Top tip 1: read
This one works well for me. 15 minutes of laying in bed with an easy read or magazine, idly flicking through, really helps me switch off before I doze off. Obviously don’t read anything over stimulating. A few chapters of ‘War and Peace’ probably won’t help.

I have a few stylists on stand by in bed 

Top tip 2: ditch the tech
Light emitted from devices such as laptops, iPads, TVs, phones etc can disrupt the body’s natural sleeping pattern, as the light suppress melatonin production. Avoid using such gadgets 30 minutes before bed

Top tip 3: yoga
I have always been a fan of yoga but a bit of gentle yoga before bed really does stretch a tired body, relieve aches, and calms the mind. Going to bed calm will stimulate a good night of zzz’s.

Top tip 4: warm shower
A warm shower (not hot) before bed time can sooth the body and calm the mind. I personally hate the smell of lavender but it is said to aid a good night’s sleep so perhaps give a lavender scented shower gel a try. Even better, after an especially tiresome day, why not relax with soft music, candles and a warm bubbly bath.

Top tip 5: no caffeine after 4pm!
I personally can’t drink coffee and I don’t like normal tea but I know the majority of you do. If you can’t get your cuppa up completely then limit yourself to just drinking it before 4pm.

Top tip 6: make your room your sleep haven
This can be tricky if like me you live with friends but try to make your room your relaxed haven. Ie don’t use your room to work or do chores. Try and do that in the living room or better still a coffee shop or library. Get your brain to associate your room with relaxation and calm, which in turn will help you sleep better.

my mantelpiece - selection of candles and incense
(and a massive clock and my first ever pair of baby shoes)

Top tip 7: low lighting before bed
Following on from tip 6, keep the lights low before bed time. Back in cave man times, the body knew when to sleep, because the lack of light indicated it must be bed time. Now, thanks to electronics and lights, when you have the lights on full whack at 11pm, how does your body know it is time to unwind and rest.
This one of the tips that has worked the best for me and it is so simple! Plus perhaps you’ll save some dosh on electricity bills?

I turn off the main light and use a lamp

Top tip 8: use an eye mask
I love using an eye mask, not to block out light, but because I like the relaxing feeling over my eyes. Either way, to eliminate light or to relax the eyes, an eye mask can really help.

Top tip 9: dump the contents of your brain
Thinking too much before bed time is my number one in stopping me from getting to sleep. The Boy is forever telling me off for over thinking! Trouble is, over thinking before bed – especially about things you are concerned about – will only have you worrying and disrupt your sleep.
What I am now trying to do is keep a notebook by my bed. If anything troubling me pops into my head before bed time, I jot it down, forget about it and sort it out in the morning.

I got these cute stack of notepads at Xmas

Top tip 10: exercise
The more exercise I do, the more alert and energised I am. Plus I also find it helps me sleep better. There are loads of reasons for this, ranging from it tiring you out to the fact that exercise de-stresses you. Get moving and get a better night’s sleep.

If you’re not sleeping properly and not sure why, then check out the BBC website where you can assess your sleep with A Sleep Profile:

let me know if you have any tips! 




  1. Thanks for this, Alice! I've just completed my Sleep Profile. I always mean to turn off the technology an hour before bedtime, but it's a very hard habit to get into.

    Loved this post.



  2. Thanks Emma! Happy sleeping xxx