Nothing beats a good night’s sleep. It’s essential for our wellbeing, replenishes our energy stores and helps to protect our immune system.
As we age, our sleep patterns can change, making it harder to fall and stay asleep. If you’re looking for ideas on how to drift off into a deep, quality sleep – without having to count any sheep – use our easy bedtime routine, with scientifically-backed ways to help you fall into a restful, restorative slumber.
6pm: Creating the right environment
The first step for a sound night’s sleep is to make sure your room is tidy, dark and quiet. According to Sleep.org, the ideal room temperature for optimal sleep is between 15°C – 19°C. Decrease the temperature in your room by opening windows before bedtime, using a fan and keeping the curtains or blinds drawn during the day. Blackout curtains help block out light pollution from the street, while earplugs can be handy for stifling outside noise.
7pm: Switch caffeine for camomile
While a comforting cup of tea in the evening may seem harmless, it could be sabotaging your sleep. Caffeinated drinks can send the nervous system into overdrive, so consider switching to a natural herbal tea such as chamomile, which has been found to decrease feelings of anxiety and help you nod off.
8pm: Switch off screens
Switch off your TV screens and close your laptop two hours before bed. Why? The blue light emitted from electronic gadgets can stimulate the brain and suppress the secretion of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone that is released into the blood during darkness. Blue lights can not only confuse our internal body clock, but leave us feeling more groggy come morning, too.
8.30pm: Relax in a warm bath
Studies show that taking a bath between one and two hours before bed can make you feel more sleepy and lead to a restful night’s sleep. It’s all down to your body’s change in temperature from warm to cool. A bath is also ideal for reducing inflammation and easing aches and pains – just make sure it’s not too hot or it’ll have the opposite effect!
9.30pm: Read or listen to music
A study by the University of Sussex found that reading before bed can reduce stress levels by up to 68%. As well as providing a good dose of escapism, reading can help relax muscles, reduce your heart rate and help you slip into a deep, satisfying slumber. Now’s a great time to put a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow, or light a candle to further enhance this quiet time before bed.
10pm: Calm the mind
When you’re tucked up in bed but your brain is in overdrive, try some simple breathing exercises to help you unwind. The 4-7-8 technique was developed by Dr. Andrew Weil and gives your whole body a boost of oxygen, whilst sending you into a state of blissful relaxation. Start by getting yourself into a comfortable sleeping position. Close your eyes and exhale through your mouth completely. Now, inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 7 seconds and release through the mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat four time for maximum effect.
10.10pm: Jot down recurring thoughts and worries
If you’re still having trouble switching off before sleep, why not jot down your thoughts? Writing down worries or things you need to do the next day can help you drift off with a clear mind . Keeping a notebook and pen on your bedside table can also be a good opportunity to become more positive. Studies show that gratitude encourages optimism, so consider writing down three things you are grateful for at night to banish negative thoughts and appreciate the little things.
9am: The next morning
If you’re concerned about your sleep, start keeping a sleep diary, which you can present to your GP should you have continual problems.
Find more advice on how Welbeing can provide you with peace of mind during the night with our range of bed sensors.