How to have better sleep

Posted 4 months ago

Sweet dreams are made of this...

We are all slowly realising the importance of downtime - switching off so you can switch on when the time is right and there's no better way to switch off than with sleep. It's recommended adults get between 7 - 9 hours of sleep every day. Not only will you have lots of energy for the day, your brain will also be dialled up a notch to take on anything that comes your way. But there is a big difference between a good sleep and a bad sleep - here is how you can make sure you are getting enough of the former.

(Feel free to download CALM's sleep guide for more information)

Easiest ways you can have better sleep

  • Stick to the plan: Your body thrives on routine. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends (if possible, don't worry if work changes things up). This regularity helps set your body's internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up naturally. We know it's tempting to stay up late binge-watching or socialising, but your body will thank you for some consistency.
  • Create a sleep-friendly environment: Your bedroom should be shaped to prioritise your sleep. Keep it cool, quiet, and dark. Consider investing in blackout curtains, earplugs, or a white noise machine if you have noisy neighbours. Also, make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable. It's worth investing in a decent mattress topper with can turn any bed from a zero into a ten!
  • Limit screen time (before bed): Scrolling through social media or watching series on your laptop can be a hard habit to break, especially when you're winding down. However, the blue light from screens can mess with your sleep hormones. Try to cut off electronic devices at least an hour before bed. Instead, wind down with a book or podcast on the history of politics - that will definitely send you straight to sleep.
  • Watch what you eat (before bed): Caffeine and sugar can be your worst enemies when trying to sleep. Try to avoid coffee, tea, and sugary snacks late in the day. Also, while it might seem like alcohol helps you sleep, it actually disrupts your sleep cycle, leading to poorer quality rest. Opt for a light, healthy snack if you're hungry before bed.
  • Have a pre-sleep routine: Develop a relaxing bedtime ritual to tell your body it's time to wind down. This could involve reading, listening to calming music, or taking a warm bath. Steer clear of stimulating activities like doing work or anything that gets the blood pumping too much before bed.
  • Avoid napping too much: This might be a hard pill to swallow but napping isn't actually good for you. Napping upsets your sleep routine which can confuse your body into shutting down at the wrong time. If you must nap, keep it short (20-30 minutes) and avoid napping late in the day.

For more guidance on sleep and your mental health, visit Mind, NHS every mind matters and Student Minds.