How to have a good night’s sleep
It’s time to spice up your bedtime! No, we don’t mean in that way. Here’s how to ensure you get all the rest and relaxation you need once you settle down between the sheets…
Around 60% of us claim we rarely get a comfortable night's sleep, according to a recent survey for bed specialists Dreams - and at least half of us find ourselves being kept awake by worries about work. But don't let lack of sleep become one more thing to fret about: there's plenty you can do to undo bad habits and ensure you sleep soundly through until morning.
First and foremost? Try to keep regular hours. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time each day will help programme your body to sleep better. If you lead a busy lifestyle, this may seem easier said than done, but try to stick to a routine wherever possible. Don't stay up late watching TV just because you can't be bothered to get off the sofa - and don't be tempted to lie in bed just for the sake of it at the weekends.
It also pays to create a restful sleeping environment. Your bedroom should be kept for rest and sleep only, and be as quiet and dark as possible. 'Remove mobile phones and cordless telephone bases from the bedroom,' advises nutritionist and life coach Alison Duker. 'The radio waves can disrupt the natural patterns of sleep.'
If you're disturbed by light coming through the windows, try wearing an eye mask. And if it tends to get noisy outside or elsewhere in the building, pop some ear plugs in, too. Also, it sounds obvious, but try to make sure your bed is as comfortable as possible. A firm mattress, supportive pillows and crisp, clean sheets can all help to create the right environment.
There's also plenty you can do before bedtime to ensure you have the best night's sleep possible. An example? Try cutting down on caffeinated drinks, such as tea, coffee and cola - particularly in the evenings - as these can over-stimulate the brain and make it difficult to settle down. Have a herbal tea or hot milky drink with a sprinkling of Schwartz cinnamon for your pre-sleep tipple instead.
It's also important to avoid overindulging late at night. Try to eat your evening meal as early as possible, to give the food time to digest. Go for taste and quality over quantity: for example, take your pick from the 14 new Schwartz Flavourful recipe mixes to create a delicious family dinner that's easy to make and bursting with flavour.
Another culinary tip? Opt for foods such as turkey, pumpkin seeds, Schwartz sesame seeds, chickpeas and salmon: they're all high in the essential amino acid tryptophan, which has been found to promote good sleep.
But what if you're still hungry at bedtime? 'It probably means your blood sugar levels have dropped,' says Alison Duker. 'Try eating an oatcake or piece of fruit to give your body that extra shot of glucose it needs to continue its work while you're asleep.'
Holland & Barrett
Finally, aim to switch off the TV and computer an hour before you go to bed - this helps to 'deactivate' the brain and prepare you for sleep. Have a nice warm bath, then sprinkle a few drops of lavender oil over your pillow: its aroma has relaxing properties. Try Lavender Pure Essential Oil (£6.79, Holland & Barrett stores nationwide).
Still can't quite settle down? Make a list of everything that needs to be done the following day, then put it away in a drawer and banish from your mind until morning. Now it's time to catch up on your slumber so you're bright and breezy, ready to face the world tomorrow...
What resolution are you making this year?
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- To stop spending money so frivolously
- To learn how to cook more meals
- To spend more time with my family
- To get a new career
- To socialise with my friends more
- To get fit and healthy