How to sleep better – And form healthier sleep patterns

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A quality sleep pattern has endless health benefits, seeing as our sleep regimen has an immense influence on our bodies: from how we age and how our cells regenerate to how much we eat and how we deal with stress; but in today’s digitally driven world, we struggle to switch off, sleep anxiety takes over and sleep patterns are disturbed.

Kathryn Pinkham, sleep expert and founder of The Insomnia Clinic, shares her top five tips on how to get a good night’s sleep, side-step sleep anxiety and ultimately help you maximise your beauty sleep…

Implement a night-time routine and stick to it… and don’t make the mistake of going to bed before your body is truly ready

Feeling exhausted after a long spell of poor sleep, night after night? Planning an early night to try and catch up on the lost sleep? Chances are you’re setting yourself up for another epic sleep fail. Unfortunately, our bodies don’t work like that. Your body needs a good night-time routine in place, which you associate with sleeping. Try and implement and stick to a night-time routine that suits you and only go to bed when you are truly tired, - this way you are more likely to fall into and effortless sleep.

Don’t hit the snooze button

If you’re struggling to sleep, it can be all too tempting to compensate with a late rise in the morning. Hitting the snooze button means you will be less tired by bedtime, leading to further sleeplessness. Set your alarm for the same time every day and try to be disciplined in getting up when your alarm goes off. Being more tired builds up sleep pressure during the day, making you more likely to sleep better and more deeply at bedtime.

The fifteen-minute rule

If you’re lying in bed awake, there is a danger your brain will begin to associate your bed with being awake. Give yourself around fifteen minutes, taking care not to keep checking the clock, as this will increase anxiety levels, and if after this time you are still awake, get out of bed and repeat your night-time routine until you start to feel sleepy. Keep repeating this cycle until you fall asleep.

Avoid screens and electronic devices

Smartphone and laptop screens give off blue light, which reduces the body’s production of melatonin (the sleep hormone). Keep the screens turned off while you are sleeping and avoid using technology close to bedtime, particularly when getting out of bed following the fifteen-minute rule.

Put the day to rest

You come home late, exhausted and the first thing you want to do is get into bed and sleep. But it doesn’t happen. Why? Because your mind is still active from the day’s activities and now that it’s free from distractions it is free to wander, and keep you awake. Before going to bed, set aside some time to unwind by reading a book, listening to music or writing in a journal take outs from the day or your never-ending to-do list and unload your thoughts before getting your head down.


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