When your sleep routine is out of whack, it can feel like the whole world is crashing down around you. It often happens at the worst time - from stressful times in your life to the day before an important event.
There are plenty of things you can do to help improve your sleep hygiene and get more restful slumber.
How to re-establish good sleep habits
While we all know that sleep is a fundamental part of our well being - even missing a few hours of sleep can cause problems. That’s why re-establishing good sleep habits after a blip is such a powerful tool. We all need to reset from time to time, and having a better sleep-time routine can help you switch off and enjoy the shut eye you deserve.
Getting your sleep back on track might seem like a mammoth task - but with a few simple changes you’ll be back into the land of zzz’s in no time. Here are our top tips to re-establish sleep habits when you feel they’ve gone a bit off-piste.
Get natural sunlight hours in the day
Before you even get into bed, it’s important to think about how you do your day. Sunshine plays a vital role in how well we sleep. It helps regulate hormones and melatonin production, which impacts the circadian rhythm.
Behind the science, what that really means is that our bodies like to see light in the day and darkness at night. This helps signal to our body that we’re in sync with the world around us and rest easily at night.
Don’t go overboard with exposure to sunshine though – be sensible and always wear SPF. Just 30 minutes of external light a day should help to regulate your sleeping pattern.
Minimize exposure to blue light before bed
On the topic of light. We all know how bad this one is for us, but how many of us actually follow through and switch off our phones and screens before bed?
It can be so tempting to scroll through social media before we turn out the lights, but for a better night-time routine, it’s a good idea to cut out screens of any kind. Try to avoid looking at bright screens a few hours before bed. While that might sound like a tall order, cutting out blue light before bed can signal to your brain that it’s time to switch off and relax.
Start your own bedtime routine
Routine is a really powerful way to establish good sleep habits, and teach your body how to sleep well. The same way we create a routine for the gym or for work, a sleep routine can also help you get quality zzz’s every night.
The aim is to signal that it’s time for bed, and let your body enter a state of relaxation before your head actually hits the pillow. Start a few hours before bed, or after dinner. Find habits that suit you, like a calming tea or a soak in the bath. It might even be an episode of your favorite show before you curl up in bed with your journal to write down your thoughts. There’s no right or wrong routine - it’s all about what works for you.
One of the simplest is to create a regular sleep schedule and stick to it as closely as possible. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day will help your body adjust its natural rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Get some exercise
Exercise has so many benefits outside of sleep. From lowering the risk of certain cardiac diseases, to providing mental balance and inner peace, exercise can be a great way to relieve the stresses of the day. What many people don’t know is that exercise also helps regulate your sleep cycle.
Studies have shown that when we exercise rigorously, our sleep is reportedly better. Whether you like to walk, run, practice yoga or hit the gym, adding some movement into your day is a good way to reset your body when your sleep cycle feels a bit off.
Enjoy wellness teas and supplements
There are lots of herbal measures that can help you unwind after a busy day. Instead of opting for caffeinated drinks, why not try a wellness tea like lemon balm, rose and hops to set the tone and help you drift off into bliss land?
Chamomile is the classic night-time tipple, but adding a range of different combinations, like lavender, can add some variety. If that’s not enough to help you take back your bedtime routine, why not experiment with supplements, like magnesium, which help relax the muscles?
Every body is different, and everyone will need a slightly personalized routine, but once you find what works for you, you’re sure to have a great night’s sleep.