This is a guest post sharing some helpful tips on how to naturally get better sleep, by Caroline from travel website Breaks.com. On here she writes travel guides, finds great deals, gives lifestyle tips and lots more. Caroline spends most of her spare time on UK ‘staycations’ with dog Monty, getting inspiration for her travel blog.
Do you often find yourself tossing and turning and not being able to fall asleep? This is more common than you think! Modern inventions like lighting and electronics are great, but they do mean that it can be difficult for us to fall asleep. If you struggle with this, have a look at these top tips below to help you sleep better naturally. Your body and mind will thank you!
1: Eat a lighter, earlier dinner
It is proven by many different research studies that eating earlier before bedtime can help improve your sleep. Why not change your routine and have a bigger lunch and a smaller meal for dinner? This way your body has time to ‘burn’ your lunch throughout the day. Eating your dinner around 6 or 7 PM gives your body a couple of hours to digest before you go to bed. And try to stay away from late-night snacks!
A heavy dinner can also prevent your body from falling asleep. A heavy meal takes a really long time for your body to digest, so a lighter dinner might be a good alternative! A big salad with some form of protein (turkey, eggs, or a piece of fish) is ideal as an evening meal.
Note that what you eat can also make a difference! Avoid eating very spicy foods before bedtime, as well as cheese and of course alcohol and caffeine. Foods that are recommended before bedtime include bananas, honey, and almonds as these all stimulate the release of melatonin – your sleep hormone.
2: Switch off electronics
We all know that this is a top tip for falling asleep quicker and better. The (blue) light electronics give off trick your brain into thinking it is day time. Your brain will stay alert and have trouble falling asleep. Scrolling endlessly through social media also gives your brain stimulation that you don’t need before bedtime.
Put your phone away at least 30 minutes before bed and try reading a book instead. Leave your phone in a different room so you don’t get tempted to have a look. If you really want to improve your sleep (and mindfulness!) you can give meditating a go. This will send you into a calm mood and you will fall asleep in no-time.
3: Have a warm, not hot, bath
I think most people will find a warm bath one of the most relaxing things to do. Light some candles, put some lavender oil in the water and you’re good to go. Taking a warm bath around 90 minutes before bed can really help you fall asleep as your body lowers its core temperature. This is a signal for your body that it is time for bed. If you don’t have a bath, a warm shower will also do the trick.
Don’t make the water too hot though, as this may raise your heart rate and make you feel a bit queasy – the opposite of what you need before bed!
4: Use sleep oils or balms
I absolutely love relaxing oils, especially around bedtime. There are plenty of oils, balms, and cremes out there that are worth trying out. Ideally, a sleepy one should include essential oils like lavender, vanilla or jasmine as these have been proven to relax our bodies and minds.
Try a pillow spray, sleepy body crème or a balm and see if it helps you. You can even simply buy an essential oil and dilute it with some water (like in your bath!). The more natural, the better – so try to steer clear of any chemicals used. There are lots for different budgets, different allergies and more. You can even find ones that come in a travel size – ideal for when you’re away from home.
5: Try listening to something relaxing
Earlier we told you to stay away from electronics – we are now asking you to get them out again. If after all these tips you still find yourself tossing and turning, you could try listening to something soothing. There are lots of free videos on platforms like YouTube with nature sounds like rainfall or ocean sounds that you could put on. Make sure to leave your device as far away in the room as possible and turn the screen down so you don’t see any light!
You could also try the Calm app, on which people like Stephen Fry and Harry Styles have narrated soothing stories. I never get past the first couple minutes as I always fall asleep instantly! There are a free version so you don’t have to spend a single penny.
These are my top tips for falling asleep. If you use all of these together you should be falling asleep within a second when you put your head on the pillow. Try incorporating at least one of these tips before bedtime every night and you can continue to add more in for an incredible sleep routine. You will feel so much more refreshed in the morning!
*Images sourced from Unsplash*