12 steps to enjoy a good night’s sleep
Enjoy better sleep with these 12 steps
A few years ago, I carried out a large-scale survey examining the lifestyles of people who sleep well and wake up feeling refreshed. The results revealed that the secret of a great night’s sleep is surprisingly simple, and comes down to the following 12 techniques.
1. Avoid the blues
When your eyes are exposed to light, your brain produces less of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Light towards the blue end of the spectrum is especially stimulating and, unfortunately, computer screens, tablets, smartphones and LED lighting all emit a lot of blue light. Try not to use these devices in the two hours before you go to bed. If you must use them, turn down the brightness or wear amber-tinted glasses designed to block blue light.
2. Tub time
There’s a decrease in your body temperature just before you fall asleep. Taking a bath or shower artificially raises your body temperature, but when you climb out of the tub or shower, this temperature abruptly drops and sends a signal to your body that you are ready for sleep. Take a bath or shower immediately before you head to bed.
3. Steer clear of the nightcap
Although a small amount of alcohol might help you get to sleep more quickly, it also gives you a more disturbed night, increases the chances of snoring and disrupts dreaming. Don’t drink alcohol in the hours before bed.
4. Follow the 90-minute rule
Every night your brain goes through several 90-minute sleep cycles. You feel good if you wake up towards the end of a cycle because then you are closest to your normal waking state. To increase the chances of this, decide when you want to wake up and then count back in 90 minutes blocks to discover the best time to fall asleep. For instance, if you want to wake up at 8am, you should aim to fall asleep around either 11pm or 12.30am.
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