No matter which way you look at it, if you’re struggling to sleep at night it’s mostly going to come down to how much - or little - of the sleep inducing hormone melatonin your body is producing naturally. If you can get your brain to make enough melatonin, you’ll sleep like a baby. Here’s how.
New Zealand fatigue expert and managing director of Fatigue Management Solutions, Rachel Lehen, says if you’re not getting a good night’s sleep, one reason could be that your core body temperature is too warm (so don’t exercise before bed).
“Ideally, we should be sleeping in temperatures of between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius”, Rachel says.
Focus on the things you can control for a better night sleep
- Use breathable fabrics
If you’ve been looking for a reason to buy Egyptian cotton sheets. This is it. Nothing breathes like Egyptian cotton, and it just feels good.
- Kill the light
Melatonin is stimulated by darkness. Light pollution from street lamps and electronics will disrupt your sleep. Make your bedroom as dark as humanly possible, and that includes avoiding LED screens at least an hour before bed.
- Drink a little water before bed
A few sips before bed is really important to keep the body hydrated for the eight hours you’re in bed – keep a glass of water by the bed.
- Start getting ready for bed six hours earlier
It’s not as nuts as it sounds. Caffeine is a stimulant1, while alcohol makes you dehydrated, causing you to wake up, and reduces your rapid eye movement sleep (REM), which is the restorative part of our sleep.
- Try magnesium and herbal tea
Other aides that may help include taking magnesium before bed because it is an excellent muscle relaxant, or drink a cup of herbal tea that contains valerian or passion flower. “They’re not sleeping tablets,” says Rachel. “But they do help to relax you and induce sleep”.
And if you can’t stay away from your smartphone at night, take it to bed with you and use one of the many sleep apps out there to understand your sleep patterns better.
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