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10 Tips To Help You Sleep Better

Do you suffer from insomnia? You're not the only one - many people do. Sleep is so important for your health so here are some simple tips to get over this problem (without the pills...)

If you have less than 6 hours of sleep in a night then you're pre-diabetic and immune system compromised for the next 48 hours. Basically you're a walking, talking, fat-storing, disease attracting machine! There's a long list of health issues directly related to poor sleep so it's in your best interest to get on top of this!

Tip No. 1 - Daylight at day, darkness at night

One of the main causes for struggling to sleep is the use of artificial lighting and electrical equipment at night, in conjunction with a lack of bright sunlight exposure during the day. As soon as you get up in the morning open all of the curtains and blinds in your house and embrace the day. If it's still dark outside, go back to sleep... Or alternatively turn on all the lights until the sun comes up. Try and remain in a lit up environment all day long, in natural daylight wherever possible.

When it comes to later in the evening, turn off all artificial lights and use candles instead. If your eyes see light, your body thinks it's daytime so it will stop producing melatonin (the sleep hormone). Alternatively you can use Himalayan salt lamps or anything that emits a low red glow. Turn off the TV, mobile phones, devices and computers at least an hour before bed. If you really must use your phone or computer at night because you are a Facebook junkie, there are apps available that can dim your screen which will help. These simple steps will bring your body in line with its natural circadian rhythm and will ultimately help you to sleep well.

If you wanna get real serious, I recommend investing in a pair of blue-blocking glasses to wear once the sun goes down. You can get some here

Tip No. 2 - Keep it cool

Keep your room at a nice cool temperature - below 22 degrees celsius is a good guide (thats about 70 for our Fahrenheit friends).

Tip No. 3 - Keep it quiet

If you have loud neighbours, kill them. Not really! But seriously tell them to shut up! Or buy some ear plugs.

Tip No. 4 - Stop thinking

This one's easier said than done. One of the main problems people face when trying to fall asleep is that they can't stop thinking about stuff. Anxiety, stress, problems, ideas... There are a few ways to deal with this, try and find what works for you. Try keeping a notebook by your bed and before you go to sleep, write down anything that's going on in your head. Alternatively you can try and imagine locking away thoughts inside a box in your mind and throwing away the key. You could also try meditating before bed to relax your mind.

Tip No. 5 - Avoid stimulants in the evening

This one is common sense. Stimulating your brain anywhere close to bedtime is not going to help you sleep. The effects of caffeine, alcohol and drugs can last hours so just avoid them completely in the evening if you want to sleep well.

Tip No. 6 - Routine

Establishing a bedtime routine will help you to sleep better. Try and do something to wind down at night such as reading, having a nice hot bath or playing chess with your grandad. Stick to the same bedtime wherever possible. If you can go to bed and get up at the same time every day, do it.

Tip No. 7 - Get to the gym

Getting some exercise in every day will help you to sleep better at night. Just try not to exercise too close to bedtime. If you have no choice but to work out later in the evening, do not use stimulating pre-workout drinks unless you want heart palpitations at 4am!

Tip No. 8 - Eat carbs before bed

Did I just say eat before bed?! On a health and fitness blog!? Yes, I did. I usually have my highest carb meal an hour or so before bed. Won't this be stored as body fat? Nope, that's a myth. By having a higher carb meal in the evening, ideally a few hours before bed, you'll release tryptophan and serotonin, two of the sleep inducing hormones.

Tip No. 9 - Don't wet the bed

Take a glass of water to bed with you so that you have the option to drink if you must. Don't drink lots of water before going to bed though or you may have to get up for a pee at 3am.

Tip No. 10 - Track your progress

There are numerous apps and fitness trackers you can now use to track your sleep. Once you highlight any problem areas you can begin to address them. This can be a very motivating way to get on top of your sleeping routine.

If you follow the advice in this article and still struggle to sleep, you may require some medical advice but be wary of sleeping tablets. These should be a last resort as there are many natural methods you can try first that do not come with a long list of side effects.

What are your top tips for getting a good nights sleep? Leave a comment below!

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