HOW TO GET BETTER SLEEP IN 10 EASY, NATURAL STEPS 

THE QUESTION OF “HOW TO GET BETTER SLEEP” WAS ONE OF OUR MOST ASKED QUESTIONS WE GOT WHEN I WAS THE MANAGING EDITOR OF WOMEN’S HEALTH

By Amy Hopkins, Wellness Brand & Marketing Editor and Writer

And it’s no surprise: sleep is one of the most important parts of our functioning lives and yet so many of us are sleep deprived or not getting the quality sleep we need. 

I’ve always been fascinated by sleep. As a teenager, I could sleep all day and as an adult with anxiety, I had many nights where I struggled. Lack of sleep has many negative side effects, such as weight gain, increased irritability, and anxiety, mood swings, lack of concentration, and a decline in cognitive abilities. Not good. 

Researching and learning how to sleep better became a hot topic for me. A few years ago was lucky enough to host a sleep workshop with Dr. Dale Rae, the director of sleep sciences at the University of Cape Town. She is a wealth of knowledge and I learned so much from her. 

 

In this list below, you will find 10 easy steps that will help you get better sleep. 

1. Prioritize sleep like you would an important meeting. This means scheduling it into your day and mapping out your hours. Adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. 

2. Set your sleep environment up for success. This means that you have a comfortable bed with breathable materials (try this moya duvet cover) It means no bright or blinking lights in the room. Limit noise in the room: no ticking clocks for example. And make sure the room is cool enough. We struggle to sleep when we’re hot, so make sure that you have a fan or aircon for the hot months and that you close your curtains in the afternoon to cool the room down. 

3. Avoid caffeine and stimulants later in the day. Stick to coffee in the mornings only. Avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks or foods in the afternoon and evenings.

4. Limit your alcohol intake. While having a glass of wine may help us to feel sleepy, when the alcohol wears off the body, we’re often dehydrated and in withdrawal, which wakes us up at 2 or 3 am.

5. Don’t consume too much liquid before bedtime. This will help you avoid getting up in the night to dash to the bathroom. 

6. Limit naps. Napping too long in the day can often disrupt our nighttime rest. Rather try to go to bed earlier in the evening.

7. Regular exercise helps promote better sleep. Actually, exercising regularly has a host of physical and mental health benefits, but if you needed another reason too, it’s this! Some studies suggest exercising in the morning as it helps to wake the body up instead of doing a stimulating exercise at night.

8. Declutter your room. Scientists have found that those in a cluttered and chaotic room were more likely to have a sleeping disorder. It’s possible that what we see when we walk into our rooms can create a stress response as opposed to a relaxing response. So tidy up, declutter and create calm.

9. Creating a bedtime ritual. This helps tell your body and mind that it is preparing for sleep. Tools that may help include: putting your phone away, taking a bath (try these calming bath salts), lighting a candle, journaling, practicing slow, deep breathing for five minutes, or even reading a book.

10.  Address your stress. Practice calming techniques like meditation, journaling to ease anxiety and stress so that you can have better sleep. 

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