Did you know that the choices you make throughout the day, impact the way you sleep at night? Your daytime routine can both positively and negatively affect the quality of your sleep, the way you fall asleep and even how much sleep you get each night. This doesn’t mean you need to be perfect at nailing your routine 24/7 in order to get a good night's sleep. But it does mean you should look at implementing some simple habits throughout your day to support yourself in getting better sleep.
Here are ten habits you can implement throughout your day to help you sleep better at night.
Tip 1: hydrate first thing in the morning
Drinking a glass of water upon waking helps to rehydrate the body after a long period of no water consumption. This helps to flush out your stomach and balance the lymphatic system.
Tip 2: an initial hit of sunshine
Spending 10-20 minutes in the sunlight in the morning will help to set your circadian rhythm (24 hour body clock). But the importance of sunlight doesn’t stop there. Make sure you try to increase your amount of light during the day to help you become more alert.
Tip 3: delay your morning coffee
We can hear the collective sigh of disappointment, but delaying your morning coffee can have a massive positive impact on your sleep. Consume your caffeine of choice about 2 hours after waking as your cortisol levels peak to have a sustained flow of energy. The best time to drink coffee is thought to be 9.30 – 11.30am when most people’s cortisol level is lower.
Tip 4: exercise in the morning
Exercise in the morning is thought to be a great way to support your sleep habits. It helps to kick-start the brain in the same way as when you expose yourself to bright light early in the morning. It also ensures your body releases melatonin earlier in the evening, getting you ready to get to bed at a decent time.
Tip 5: eat balanced meals throughout the day
Eating a balanced breakfast and lunch ensure you avoid the dreaded “three-thirty-itis”. It’s natural to experience a dip in energy around 3pm, and the best way to avoid this is to try and swap our sugary or caffeinated foods and drinks with healthier options such as nuts and seeds. Eating a balanced breakfast and lunch with healthy fats, fibre and protein will ensure your energy levels stay consistent throughout the day.
Tip 6: take regular breaks
It’s easy to find yourself chained to a desk throughout the day or in a sedentary work environment. It’s so important to make sure you get up and move around every hour to help clear your mind and stretch your body. This regular practice helps to calm your nervous system throughout the day so that you are ready for good sleep later on.
Tip 7: breathing exercises
Some research has found that concentrating on your breathing can ease anxiety and maybe even help you sleep better. Slow, deep breathing can have several benefits for your mind and body, including: less stress and more melatonin production.
Tip 8: change your mindset
If you are getting caught in a negative sleep cycle it might be time to change your view. Negative and stressful thoughts about sleep worsen insomnia by triggering emotions such as anxiety or frustration. This can then mobilise the stress response within your body. In turn, the stress response strengthens the wakefulness system, weakens the sleep system and makes it harder to sleep.
Tip 9: increase physical touch
Are you finding yourself caught in a negative cycle - bad sleep, stress, clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth at night? Maybe your shoulders are tights, so you experience muscle cramps and spasms? Getting physical support for your body is often the last thing on the list. Do you remember the last time you had a massage, a facial, acupuncture or a trip to the physio? It’s so important that not only your mind is relaxed but also your body. Take this as your sign to schedule regular deep tissue massages, skin treatments or physio appointments. These will help keep your body relaxed and ready for sleep.
Tip 10: focus on relaxation
Ultimately there is no quick fix for insomnia, but we know in order to get good sleep you must be in a relaxed state. The more relaxed you are before sleep, the better night’s sleep you will enjoy.
So what are you waiting for? What are you currently doing within your day to prepare for relaxation before bed? Implement small, actionable steps to ensure you’re achieving full relaxation before you head to sleep for the night.