Woman sleeping in park

9 Secret Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Want to sleep like a baby tonight? These tips and tricks will help put a stop to your disturbed slumber so you can wake up alert, refreshed

By Tiffany Loh, 11 January 2016
9 Secret Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Do you lie awake at night, wondering how to get to sleep? According to the UK Sleep Council, 70% of Britons say they are getting less than seven hours of rest each night, while a third admit to waking throughout the night on a regular basis.

Not only does daily exercise tire you out so you crave a good rest, but it also helps to lower your body temperature for a deeper sleep

While we may have the best intentions, a large amount of us are still wondering how to get to sleep each night.

So let’s look at how you go about your day and see if these 10 quick fixes can help you fall asleep more easily and get a good eight hours.

Sleep Tip 1: Stick to a Schedule

Our bodies like routine so try to wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day and night. Fight through the post-dinner drowsiness and choose a time when you’d naturally be tired to keep any tossing and turning to a minimum.

If your sleep wasn’t as restful as you would like, don’t you dare reach for the snooze button in the morning! While it may feel glorious at the time, those extra five minutes of shut-eye after your alarm clock goes off are bad! Snoozing erases your body’s memory of the deep sleep you were in and replaces it with the memory of your nap, making you feel groggy when you do get out of bed. And you wonder why you’re not a morning person!

Sleep Tip 2: Wind Down with a Bedtime Ritual

What do you do before bed? If you worry about what you didn’t manage to complete at work that day – stop! The stress is not going to help you have a better quality sleep.

Instead, write a to-do list of what you’d like to achieve and run a warm bath or shower to help your body reach a nice temperature for rest. Relax your mind before you turn in by listening to calming music or reading a book.  

Sleep Tip 3: No More Naps

We always want what we can’t have and naps are just one example of this. Lunchtime siestas can often incorporate the deeper stage of sleep, resulting in a lighter than normal sleep at night.

If you must nap, keep it short and do it in the morning.

Sleep Tip 4: Get Your Heart Racing Every Day

Not only does daily exercise tire you out so you crave a good rest, but it also helps to lower your body temperature for a deeper sleep. There’s a way to do it so getting your heart racing helps your relax instead of keeping you alert and awake: All you need is 20 to 30 minutes of exercise each day, but do it at least three hours before you hit the hay. If you can’t fit in exercise anytime between the morning and evening, a few yoga stretches will still help.

Sleep Tip 5: Make Your Bedroom Sleep-Friendly

Clutter is an enormous energy drainer and creator of stress, and the dust that hides beneath your mess can spoil a good night’s sleep, especially if you have asthma or allergies. A regular vacuum of the floor and a damp dust of furniture can help you sleep easy.

Another factor that could be affecting the quality of your slumber is external noise. Try blocking it out with earplugs or getting a “white noise” appliance. If the issue doesn’t go away it may be time to invest in double-glazed windows.

Sleep Tip 6: Keep Your Room Dark

A dark bedroom will help you sleep better so if you’re having trouble getting to sleep due to light, hang up heavy curtains or blackout blinds and use a mask to shield your eyes from that fluorescent street lamp or the dreaded early morning light.

Take a look around your room, are there any devices omitting light unnecessarily? Switch off any hallway lights that could be streaming through the doorway, replace any bulbs with low-wattage versions and cover any devices that could be lighting up your room. Yes, that includes your alarm clock or phone, we know it’s hard but you can do it!

Sleep Tip 7:  Eat Smaller, Healthier Portions

Highly processed food before bed is a recipe for disaster (for a good night’s sleep and your waistline), so step away from the pepperoni pizza!

Wrap up your balanced dinner early in the evening if possible and avoid heavy or rich foods two hours before you go to bed. If you get peckish at night, snack on foods that won’t cause unhappy tummies or heartburn.

Sleep Tip 8: Avoid Alcohol

Have you ever woken up in the early hours of the morning after a big night out? While alcohol makes it easier to crash after a long day, it also dehydrates you. And as a diuretic, it causes those annoying middle of the night bathroom trips.  

Another beverage to avoid is coffee and any sort of food or drink that contains caffeine. So tea, chocolate and cola should be all off the cards. Try a decaf or herbal tea instead.

Sleep Tip 9: Step Away From the Screens

A common problem for many of us is turning off the screen, whether it’s the television, the iPad, the laptop or a smartphone. All of these backlit screen devices stimulate our minds and emit a high amount of artificial blue light that suppresses the rise of melatonin, so we don’t feel sleepy.

Download a blue light filter for your smart devices and avoid using them while you’re in bed or better yet, ban them from the bedroom altogether. This will train your mind to associate your bed with calm, rest and sleep.