Ten Top Tips for How to Sleep Better | Blue Badge Co
How to Get a Good Night's Sleep. Blue Badge Co's Top Tips to Help You Sleep Better
Blue Badge co recently launched a range of Relaxing, Wheat Filled Lavender Eye Masks. To celebrate, we have put together a list of our top tips for better sleep!
We all know we should do more of it and that it's crucial to all manner of important brain and bodily functions. But when it comes to it, do we actually get enough time between the sheets? Now, now, don't be smutty! I'm talking about how to sleep beter!
I'm writing this post for my own benefit as much as anyone elses, if anyone needs to take this advice it's me! What follows is basically what I am aspiring to do even as I sit in front of my computer at midnight knowing I'll be woken before 7am by my 3 yr old daughter...
1) Allow 7-9 Hours Of Sleep Time Per Night
Some people need more sleep than others but the National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours for an average adult. Margaret Thatcher famously claimed she slept for only 4 hours a night (which I think is a great example of how damaging sleep deprivation can be to decision making!)
2) Turn Off All Devices At Least An Hour Before Bed
We should all know by now that technology before bed is a bad idea. Yet we still find ourselves checking messages, online shopping, playing computer games or browsing the internet at bedtime!
As long ago as 2011, a Sleep in America® poll by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) found
"Artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed at night suppresses release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhances alertness and shifts circadian rhythms to a later hour—making it more difficult to fall asleep," So says Charles Czeisler, PhD, MD, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. So staring at a screen before bedtime tricks our brain into being as alert as if it were daytime. We need to shut down the devices at least an our before we need our brain to do the same.
3) Have a Routine & Stick To It
Our bodies and minds respond extremely well to routine. Formulating a sleep routine is agreat way to develop better sleeping habits. The advice is to start by getting up earlier rather than chasing the extra few minutes you can grasp at before you absolutely must get up. The (apparently proven) theory is that eventually you start falling asleep earlier too.
Set a time in your head to BEGIN getting ready for bed. Allow time to do all the things you need to do before getting into bed and give yourself a cut off for actually getting into bed. No more devices after this time remember, do all your little jobs and perform your ablutions. If you want to be asleep by 11pm for example, you probably need to be startng this routine at 9.30 - 10pm. (I tell myself unrealistically!)
4) Use A Lavender Bag Or Lavender Essential Oil
I grew up with a lavender bag at my bedside, made by my mum so the scent for me has the added soothing properties of cosy memories. Research has proved that Lavender can indeed promote better sleep. Put a few drops of essential oil on a hankie & tuck it into your pillow case. Or use a lavender bag hung near, or placed on, your pillow. Breathe in the soothing scent to relax your mind and help you to drift off.
When It's Not Your Fault!
Sometimes it's external influences that get in the way of a good night's sleep. If you can't change where you sleep or what goes on around you, you may be able to change something to help you clock up some extra zz's...
5) Wear Ear Plugs
I started wearing earplugs and an eye mask as a student when I was up all night (writing essays of course!) and needing to catch up on sleep in the mornings. I lived right next to a nursing home and the care nurses would stand directly outside my window on their tea breaks. From about 5am onwards there would be seemingly endless, banal chatter rattling into my semi conscious ears. This slowly drove me mad with sleep deprivation and rage! I wanted to yell at them through the window. Instead I wrote a polite note explaining the proximity of my pillow to their voices and how early 5am actually is to most other people especially students... And I bought some ear plugs. I experimented with various kinds and found the foam ones to be the best.
If you've ever tried them without success, the trick is in the positioning. You need to roll them up to make a tight point at the end before inserting them. Hold your ear near the top and pull up, now quickly push the earplug in, before it expands. Hold the earplug in place by gently pressing it into your ear as it expands. Adjust for comfort; if it's in too far it will hurt, if it's not in far enough it will pop out. Now enjoy a peaceful night's sleep wherever you are! The great thing is you will still be able to hear most mportant noises, such as the smoke alarm, but all other sound becomes muffled and irrelevant. Another tip, when removing earplugs, don't pull them straight out, squash them against the side of your ear to break the seal before pulling!
6) Wear An Eye Mask
Back in the house beside the nursing home, I also suffered from rubbish curtains through which the light crashed in and shattered my muffled mornings. Obviously I couldn't afford to replace them so I improvised eye-masks made of head skarfs or T-shirts. I have long since upgraded and now use one of Blue Badge Co's own Wheat Filled Lavender Eye Masks
The super soft velvet lining is comfortable on the eye lids and the elasticated velvet headband keeps the mask gently in position. Filled with natural wheat and lavender grains, the mask has a satisfying weight to it that feels restful in itself. Add to that the heavenly scent of lavender and sleep is just a whisper away...
The mask can be warmed in the microwave or cooled in the freezer to relieve the pain of tired or dry eyes and comes in 5 different designs.
7) Don't Go To Bed With An Over-Full Or Empty Stomach
If you go to bed full up your body is busy digesting and produces a lot of gastric acid. You don't want this in your easophogus! If you lie down too soon after a big meal it can cause acid reflux. Too much acid in the easophogus too often could potentially cause long term damage.
Going to sleep hungry can also keep you awake! Eating a healthy snack sometime between dinner & bedtime is actually a good idea. Avoid protein, apparently healthy carbohydrates eaten with good fats are best for bedtime. Some examples are banana & avocado, sweet potato & coconut oil, berries & cream.
8) Cut Down, Or Cut Out, Caffeine!
Easier said than done, I know! Personally I'm a sucker for a strong black coffee at about 10am, every day. If I have guests or I'm feeling indulgent, I'll make frothy milk to go with it and sprinkle cinamon on top. That's after my early morning cup of tea in bed and before the 2 or three other cups of tea I'll have with neighbours or my husband after work...
However, I regularly cut down then cut out caffeine for several weeks to stop things getting out of hand! That coffee turns into two, the number of teas escalates... So I reign myself in and the many benefits are clear, most notably better sleep.
I'm off caffeine now as it happens, only 2 days in so far, and I'm genuinely enjoying some heavenly herbal teas from Pukka
9) Write Down Your To-Do List To Clear Your Mind
Now this one I can do. I find it a really helpful way of stopping my mind from racing around fretting about all the things to remember to do the next day. Simply write down anything that is playing on your mind at bedtime and rest assured that you won't have forgotten whatever it is in the morning.
10) Be Active During The Day
Exercising early in the day can help your body to relax easier at bedtime. Apparently the ideal type of sleep friendly exercise is 20 mins of cardiovascular workout several hours before bed. You might think working out makes you tired and would be an ideal way to end the day but excercising too soon before bed can be over stimulating. So try to get active earlier on and leave at least 3 hours of wind down time before hitting the hay.