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If you’re having trouble sleeping, you’re not alone. Many of us know the importance of quality sleep each night in order to positively affect our mental health and well-being. But getting that recommended shut eye each night can seem like an impossible challenge.
Here are 6 ways to improve it and reap the benefits of boosted immune systems, improved concentration, increased memory function, support in weight loss and a reduction in depression:
Limit scrolling before bed
We’ve all heard that we shouldn’t use our phones at night because of the blue lights they emit. But exposure to that light right before bed can keep us from getting a good night’s rest, making us much more likely to wake up feeling groggy and tired in the morning. Try picking up a book rather than having screen time for at least an hour before bed.
Structure your nighttime
Each evening our body produces a hormone called melatonin. This hormone sends a chemical signal to the brain telling it that it’s time to sleep. By constantly changing the time you sleep, you disrupt this process and make it difficult to adopt healthy sleeping patterns. Keep your bedtime the same and set yourself a routine each evening, such as a book or bath, to let your body know it’s time to wind down.
Journal and show appreciation
Drifting off to sleep with a clear mind allows us to effectively manage our worries. By keeping a journal close by and writing in it before bed, we are able to identify our
thought patterns and effectively change our beliefs surrounding them. We become more aware of our minds and emotions, and more able to accept that even though we may not have brought a certain situation on ourselves, we still have choices and can decide how we are going to react.
By exercising we lower the level of cortisol in our bodies, which reduces stress and the sleep problems that stress and anxiety can lead to. However, exercising too late in the day can leave us feeling too energised and stimulated when it comes to night-time, by
raising our body temperatures and interfering with our ability to fall asleep. To combat this, try light exercise, stretching or yoga in the evening and save the mornings for your invigorating workouts.
As soon as we’re ready to drift off to sleep, our minds tend to start racing through all the things we need to do. Often, we just need to achieve a state of relaxation that will help quieten our busy minds and promote overall calmness.
Watch your caffeine intake, especially after 3pm
Most of us already know that caffeine is a stimulant and is used to make us feel more alert throughout the day. But despite positively affecting our mood and mental performance, the effects of it can last anywhere between 4 and 6 hours, making it difficult to drift off. And it’s not just coffee that affects us. Caffeine can also be found in certain teas, soft drinks and even dark chocolate.
Sammy Taylor is the founder of Beauty in the Brain, who launched it in 2019 while preparing for brain surgery.
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