Sleep and mental health are intrinsically linked – University of Pennsylvania researchers found that subjects who were limited to only 4.5 hours of sleep a night for one week reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted.
Equally, your mood and mental health can also affect your sleep; anxiety can increase agitation, making it difficult to get a full night’s sleep. Stress can make your body feel more alert, so drifting off is a challenge. Here are 5 tips to help you get a better night’s sleep.
- Have a bedtime routine
Going to bed at around the same time each night and waking up at a regular time in the morning has been shown to have some real benefits, from better sleep to higher cognitive performance.
Finlay & Cowley (2005) found that a consistent sleep schedule can cut down your sleep latency (how long it takes you to get to sleep) from around 45 minutes to just 9 minutes – how efficient is that!
A recent Harvard study has also shown that students who have regular sleeping patterns achieve higher grades and have higher happiness levels too – with so many benefits, what’s not to love.
- Reduce your caffeine
It’s well known that drinking caffeine before bed can affect your quality of sleep, but did you know that the effects of a cup of coffee can last for 5-7 hours?
Our wellbeing coach Andy recommends cutting out caffeine after 2pm to get a better night’s sleep. Don’t worry, we’re not denying you of your morning brew…
- Design a sleep-friendly bedroom
The National Sleep Foundation recommends dimming the lights an hour before bed – this helps to regulate your body and tell your brain it’s time to shift into sleep mode. At home, try using room darkening shades and curtains to keep it dark at night and while you sleep, particularly in these light summer months.
- Surround yourself with scent
Research from the National Sleep Foundation shows that a great way to improve your sleep is to surround yourself with your favourite scents! For example, lavender can help to decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. Soothing scents like this can improve your mood and help you relax before bed, ultimately encouraging a better night’s sleep.
- Take time for tea
Feeling tired but struggle to get to sleep?
Research from Srivastava et al found that chamomile tea and essential oil aromatherapy can be effective in treating insomnia and inducing sedation or calming effects.
Other natural teas which have been proven to help you to relax before include valerian root, lemon balm and passion flower – try a few to find your favourite. What helps you to sleep?