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What to do if you can’t sleep!

We have all said it “I can’t sleep, what do I do to resolve this?” First of all, don’t stress if you can’t sleep! It’s important to know that a huge number of people struggle with sleep, in fact over a third of people at some point in their lifetime will suffer from insomnia.  Don’t worry, you are by no means alone in this! 

There are lots of things that improve your sleep, with literally tons of scientific research pointing to ways in which lifestyle and routine changes. Along with natural supplements, can have a huge impact on your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

Though, to make the biggest changes we would recommend that for most of us, there are 4 areas that you should focus on in order to improve your sleep, these are:

1.   Regularity

Simply put, wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day.  Unfortunately this includes weekends, holidays, days off work etc. Regularity is key for the body to get into a solid schedule and routine of knowing when to sleep and when to wake up.  It’s so common these days for people to go to bed at different times depending on how their work is going.

Bingeing on Netflix, and worst of all the hours spent scrolling on social media… we’re all guilty of this one no doubt!  But it’s imperative for good sleep to maintain regularity.  Scientifically your body produces melatonin in conjunction with your regular schedule (known as the circadian rhythm) and melatonin is the key hormone that helps control your sleep patterns.

2.   Keep it Dark

While everyone has their own circadian rhythm, the body reacts to the world’s natural light system: day (light) and night (dark).  Darkness triggers an increase in melatonin levels in the body, thereby making you more drowsy and helping the body fall asleep.

Ensuring your bedroom is dark at night is critical.  If your room isn’t dark enough, perhaps invest in a good quality eye mask, or black out curtains, they’re not just for the nursery or kids room you know!.

From a practicality perspective, you should stay away from your computer or tv screen in the last hour before bed. Easier said than done we hear you say, but seriously blue light is no friend of sleep .  Furthermore you should also start to dim down the lighting in your house an hour before bed, in order to tell your body that you are nearing bedtime.  This is because when light decreases, your body makes more melatonin, which in turn makes you sleepy. Makes sense really, doesn’t it?

3.   Keep it Cool

The human brain needs to drop temperature by 2-3 degrees in order to initiate sleep.  Hence it is easier to fall asleep when a room is too cold than too hot. Cooling the body before sleep is important and as a rule of thumb cold is better than being too hot.

Whilst being in a colder bedroom to sleep (ideally around 18-19 degrees Celsius),  warming the hands and feet can also be useful to radiate heat out of the body.  A great example to achieve this is to have a hot bath.  While a lot of people associate having a warm bath before bed as relaxing and calming, there are actual scientific reasons that a warm bath before bed.

A bath can be beneficial to induce sleep – this is due to the vasodilation (decreasing blood pressure) that occurs while having a bath.  As the blood rushes to the surface of your body and skin, when you get out of the bath, you have a rush of thermal heat that evacuates from the body, reducing your core body temperature.  So not only can a bath be helpful to relax the body and mind, it can also cool you down and prepare you for sleep. 

Give it a try – you can even add some calming and relaxing bath salts to your bath to really prepare yourself for bed. Try lavender. chamomile, ylang ylang or jasmine.

4.       Avoid Stimulants and Alcohol Before Bed

We all love caffeine, alcohol and sugary foods but did you know they can all disturb your sleep patterns? Try to cut down on alcohol and avoid caffeine close to bedtime.  Instead opt for a suitable pre-bedtime drink as part of your bedtime routine.  Introducing a bedtime drink into your routine is a great habit to get into. Just as many of us religiously do for our children following a bath, bottle and bed routine, sadly we seem to lose this routine as adults!

Although there are significant individual differences in how caffeine affects each of us, give yourself enough time between your last caffeine intake and your sleep time to make sure that it does not interfere with your ability to get off to sleep.

Although alcohol is a sedative, it can have a significant impact on the quality and quantity of your sleep, especially if you’ve drunk too much and the room starts to spin! While alcohol can actually help some people initially fall asleep, our sleep tends to become fragile and light when we have too much. A lot of alcohol in the evening and can lead to lots of awakenings in the latter part of the night, dehydration causing feelings of being unrefreshed during the next day.

Take a look at our Good Sleep Hygiene page for further tips and useful recommendations to improve your night’s sleep.  At Ten:PM we have also created a product range specifically designed to help the body and mind relax. To provide you with the best chance of achieving a great night’s sleep, naturally.  The Ten:PM product range has been specifically designed to form a critical part of your healthy bedtime routine.

Feel free to contact us if you would like to know more.

Sleep Happy!

The Ten:PM Sleep Team.

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