By Sally Powis-Campbell. Registered Psychologist and Author “Mindful Mamas and Papas: A Playbook for the Whole…
During the holidays, sleep is one of those things that can get put on the back burner. You’re busy staying up late drinking mulled wine, spending time with loved ones, and frantically sorting out last-minute gifts while everyone’s asleep. While these are all great things (everything in moderation?), it’s always nice to get back into a solid sleep routine. If you’re struggling, here are 5 easy ways to improve sleep.
5 Easy Ways to Improve Sleep
#1: Avoid Caffeine
This might seem obvious, but it’s important. Caffeine’s effect lasts for around 6 hours, so avoid any caffeine 4-6 hours before bed. And beware: it sneaks its way into other surprising foods like chocolate, some pain relievers, and certain tea. If you’re craving a warm soothing beverage, cut the afternoon coffee and switch to herbal tea. Also, try adding a teaspoon of honey to your tea – it’s a natural sleep aid.
#2: Create a Pre-Bedtime Routine
This is key. Think of your bedtime routine like you would a baby’s – the baby needs to wind down, and so do you. Some ways to do this before bed are:
- Having a bath
- Reading a book
- Simply practising relaxation exercises however that looks to you. It’s different for everyone.
#3: Exercise Earlier
Be sure to stay active during the day – this will help you sleep better – but avoid high-intensity exercise like running or HIIT 2 hours before bed. Think about it: it’s likely not a good idea to get your adrenaline pumping before hitting the pillow. If you’re a nighttime movement fanatic, replace your night exercise with yin yoga or light stretching.
#4: Turn your Room into a Personalized Sleep Cave
Yep, you read that right. Create an environment your body actually wants to relax in. For some, that might mean spritzing relaxing spray (like lavender) on their pillows before bed. For others, it might mean keeping all possible light out or investing in nice pillows. Personalize your cave for you.
#5: Get Habitual
Try going to bed at a certain time each night. Studies show that going to bed at the same time each night is as important as the number of hours you sleep. To improve sleep regularity, try using a bedtime app (most phones have them built-in). They’ll alert you when it’s time to crawl in.