6 practical ways to get a better night’s sleep

Category: News

We all struggle to get a decent night’s sleep at times, but regularly missing out on a healthy amount of rest could lead to poor health and lower levels of productivity.

New data from Canada Life reveals that a third of UK adults do not feel that they’re getting enough sleep which is causing more than 14 million sick days a year.

Not only is this bad news for the UK’s struggling economy, but it also means that you may be stumbling through life unable to enjoy it to the fullest.

If you find yourself regularly tossing and turning into the small hours and battling through the day on a few hours of sleep, your mental and physical wellbeing may begin to suffer.

But don’t despair. There are several practical ways to increase both the quantity and quality of your sleep.

1. Establish a sleep routine

According to NHS recommendations, a healthy adult typically needs between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. This may vary depending on your age, health, and personal circumstances.

You probably have a good idea of how much sleep you need to feel capable of coping with the demands of your daily life.

Try to establish a routine of going to bed and getting up at a similar time each day, allowing for enough sleep to keep you firing on all cylinders.

If you’re still awake half an hour after going to bed, it might help to do something relaxing like reading or listening to calming music for 15 minutes, before trying again to sleep.

2. Do some physical activity every day

Keeping fit and active can help to improve your sleep.

If you’re not a fan of running or intensive gym sessions, try to up the number of steps you take each day by walking to work or taking the stairs instead of the lift. A gentle daily walk can be enough to promote better sleep.

There are lots of free mobile apps that will track your daily steps and allow you to set fitness goals for added motivation.

Be mindful when scheduling your daily exercise. Vigorous activity in the hours before bedtime can stimulate your body and mind, making it more difficult to relax and fall into a healthy sleep.

3. Reduce stress

A recent survey of 2,000 British adults reported in the Independent has revealed that millions feel “tired all the time” and are too stressed to sleep. The top three concerns reported by those polled were general stress, work, and money worries.

If you find yourself saying “I’m tired” multiple times a day or if you feel overwhelmed by stress and anxiety, addressing the root causes might help you to sleep better.

This could mean using relaxation techniques to tackle general stress, speaking to your boss about an excessive workload or paying attention to your finances.

It may also help to schedule time for relaxation every day, be that reading a book or taking a bath, and avoiding stress triggers in the hour before bedtime.

4. Wind down before bedtime

If you’re on the go until lights out, there’s a good chance that sleep will elude you.

About an hour before you plan to go to bed, start winding down for the day — put work away, avoid technology, and change into comfortable clothes.

Try creating a restful environment by closing curtains, dimming lights, and perhaps lighting some candles.

Taking the time to fully relax before you try to sleep will make it much more likely that you’ll drift off quickly and easily.

5. Reduce exposure to blue light in the evening

Blue light is emitted by many electronic devices, such as your mobile phone and the television. It makes you feel alert and during the day it can boost your productivity.

However, exposure to blue light in the evening can hinder sleep because it suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel drowsy.

Try using a bedside lamp that emits red or orange light rather than blue, and switch off electronic devices before heading to bed. If there are sources of blue light in your bedroom that you can’t switch off or avoid, an eye mask could help to block them out.

6. Plan your diet with care

Eating well and maintaining a healthy weight may lead to deeper, more restorative sleep. Some foods such as kiwi, cherries, fish, nuts, rice, and chicken may promote relaxation and increase the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

Foods to avoid late in the day include alcohol, caffeine, and sugary food as these can lead to energy spikes and crashes, mess with your body clock, and ultimately result in poor sleep.

Looking after your physical and mental wellbeing generally will help to promote better sleep. You may also benefit from tackling the underlying causes of chronic stress, such as work problems and financial concerns.

Get in touch

If money worries are keeping you awake at night, our financial advisers can help reduce your stress by working with you to get your finances in order.

Please email us at info@lloydosullivan.co.uk or call 020 8941 9779 to see how we can help you.

Please note

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.