A healthy sleep routine is incredibly important when it comes to the normal functioning of both your mental and physical health and overall wellbeing. Whether you’re consistently having sleepless nights or you have the odd lack of sleep which tends to put you in a bad mood for the rest of the day, it’s important to understand why this might be happening and to do something about it!
As well as being linked to depression and leading to weight gain, having lack of sleep on a consistent basis can lead to some very severe health problems. Learn how to sleep better and you can maximise your athletic performance, have a healthy weight, lower your stress levels, as well as improve your concentration and productivity levels. Sounds pretty good right? Well, keep on reading as we have some fantastic tips straight from the experts to help get you started.
Unless you have a serious sleep condition such as Sleep Apnea, there is no reason why you can’t improve your sleep habits and regular sleep routine with some natural steps and adjusting your lifestyle. Having a healthy sleep pattern is incredibly underestimated by many people and it’s really crucial to start making some changes now. As well as getting in touch with some sleep experts for their top tips, we’ve also listed some of our own advice below:
- Turn off the screens
- Choose the right mattress
- Learn how to relax in the evening
- Dim the lights two hours before bed
- Sleep in total darkness
- Be smart about what you eat and drink
- Sleeping and exercise (Ensure to exercise regularly during the day)
- Improve your sleep environment
To collate the best tips on how to get better sleep, we wanted to reach out to the experts themselves to get their professional advice on how to get a good night’s sleep. Check out our experts guide below and discover some of the leading sleep therapists, insomnia specialists, and hypnotherapists out there and what advice they have. We asked the below experts one simple question:
We’d like to say a huge thank you to all of the experts below that took the time to take part in this roundup post. Enjoy reading this selection of top tips to help you sleep better, and please feel free to share it around if you find it useful!
Dr. Michael Breus
Michael J.Breus, PhD, is a Clinical Psychologist and both a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
“Step 1: Stick to 1 schedule, this helps keep your circadian rhythms in sync.
Step 2: Stop caffein by 2pm, with a half life of 6-8 hours stopping at 2, will prevent any problems falling asleep.
Step 3: Stop alcohol 3 hours before lights out. This way if you have 1-2 at dinner it will not effect your sleep.
Step 4: Exercise daily, but limit exercise 4 hours before bed (it can make some people more energized).
Step 5: Get 15 min of sunlight each morning to turn off the Melatonin faucet in your brain, and reduce morning fog.”
Dr. Richard Shane
Richard Shane, PhD, is the developer of the Sleep Easily method.
“As a reaction to stress many people press their tongue against the roof of their mouth or their teeth. Your tongue is a switch in your nervous system. Right now—and when you want to sleep—allow your tongue to relax and be a little calmer. It can be anywhere in your mouth, even lightly touching the roof of your mouth or your teeth, just not pressing.
Allowing your tongue to relax will also help your jaw relax, and calm your neck, head and shoulders and begin to calm your mind and emotions, helping you ease toward sleep.”
Kathryn Pinkham runs The Insomnia Clinic. Her approach involves using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for insomnia (CBT-i).
“My best sleep tip would be to resist the temptation to go to bed too early. People who sleep poorly tend to go to bed early in the hopes that this will give them more opportunity to sleep, however more often than not they end up laying in bed tossing and turning for hours before they drop off. This time spent awake in bed creates a negative connection between bed and sleeping as the time is often spent experiencing negative feelings such as frustration and worry. My advice is, spend the evening winding down, writing down your thoughts and worries and doing anything that needs to be done for the next day and then go to bed when you are truly tired and this way you are more likely to nod off.
We can’t sleep without a good drive for sleep being built up, this is just like our appetite for food, the longer we are awake the ‘hungrier’ we are for sleep. So, getting up early and staying awake throughout the day will give you a strong drive to sleep and make your chances of nodding off quickly higher.”
Sharon Stiles – Hypnotherapist, CBT, NLP, EMDR and EFT Practitioner.
“My top tip for getting to sleep is to learn Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). It’s a great way to calm down a busy mind and get into a more relaxed state that helps you sleep more easily. EFT involves rubbing on a number of acupressure points whilst you focus on what is preventing you sleeping. That could be thoughts going round and round in your mind or a fear of not being able to sleep. Although it can initially look strange it is easy to learn and simple to use.”
Christabel Majendie – Psychologist/sleep therapist providing sleep therapy and advice for sleep problems and insomnia.
“My best tip for getting better sleep would be to spend more time outside in natural daylight to boost melatonin levels, the hormone that regulates the timing and duration of sleep. It is the contrast between light exposure during the day and during the evening that is recognised by the brain as a signal for the release of melatonin.
Therefore, a combination of exposure to natural daylight during the day and dimmer lights during the evening can help to regulate your sleeping patterns.”