Keep to a fixed sleep schedule and ritualYou will sleep better if you go to bed at fixed times, and get up at the same time. This teaches your body a specific rhythm. Don’t deviate too much from this in the weekends by burning the midnight oil and then sleeping through a chunk of the next day. That’s why 39% don’t sleep too well on Sundays. Also ensure that you have a fixed ritual before going to bed. If you read a bit each evening, take a shower or listen to calming music for a quarter of an hour, you are sending your body signals that it’s time to go to sleep. This lets your body start producing the sleep hormone melatonin.
- Create a calm-looking bedroom
Arrange that the bedroom has an aura of peace. No multicoloured duvet covers, but plain colours that match the rest of the room well. Also ensure that your space seems bigger, by positioning the bed in the middle of it, for instance. You feel less cramped in a larger space, so you will sleep more peacefully. A plant in your room produces a fresh climate, but here too there’s a golden rule: don’t overdo it! And finally, keep your bed free of books, bottles of water and smartphones. That’s what bedside cabinets are for.
- Choose a different bed partner than your smartphone
That’s just how it is these days: where you go, your smartphone goes. But it’s not a great idea to take your phone to bed with you. It’s not only the distraction of just quickly checking your Facebook, receiving a Snapchat or sending an e-mail. It’s also about the stimulations which activate your brain. But above all the problem is the blue light of smartphones, tablets, laptops and TVs. This light inhibits the creation of the sleep hormone melatonin, so that your body actually wakes up again. So put your smartphone out of reach and out of sight well before you’re going to sleep, which also avoids any temptation.
- Ensure a quiet environment
You won’t be surprised to learn that you sleep better in quiet surroundings than in noisy ones. People who live alongside a busy road or have noisy neighbours will certainly have something to say about this. If you do live in such a noisy environment, or you have a partner who cuts down entire forests in the night, then sleep with earplugs. Earplugs ensure that the irritating noises are muffled, so that you fall asleep peacefully and keep sleeping uninterrupted. Wear special, soft earplugs like the SleepSoft earplugs. These will nestle comfortably in your ear the whole night, with a muffling effect which nevertheless lets you hear your alarm clock as usual in the morning.
- Sleep in a darkened room
Darken your room as much as possible. The thicker the curtains, the better! Light hinders (here it comes again) the creation of melatonin. That’s also the reason why we are often far more active in the long summer evenings than in the dark days before Christmas. Before you go to bed, turn off some lights and brush your teeth in the dark, for instance. Here, too, you are sending your body a signal: it’s bedtime.
- Be careful what you eat and drink
Did you know that the fabled ‘nightcap’ actually achieves exactly the opposite effect? You certainly do indeed fall asleep more easily, but the quality of your sleep is much worse. Never mind how you feel the day after… And take it easy with coffee or other drinks containing caffeine and/or sugar, such as cokes or energy drinks. Caffeine in particular can take hours to dissipate. Very greasy meals or spicy dishes eaten too late can also mean that your stomach has to work a night shift. This keeps your body active, and you don’t fall asleep. And by the way, that cup of warm milk really does work! Milk contains tryptophan, which gives your body the right materials for creating melatonin.
Which of these tips do you already use?