We’ve all been there – tossing and turning at night, counting sheep and hoping to fall asleep. However, no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to enter that elusive slumberland.
However, you can learn to fall asleep faster using some simple, natural tips and tricks.
We consulted the Chief Sleep Officer of Hilding Anders on sleeping tips and here are seven ways to help you get ready for bed and snore the night away in no time.
1. Get Comfy
You should always be comfortable in your own bed. Having the right mattress can have you looking forward to lying down for the night, and will ultimately help you fall asleep quickly.
It’s worth investing in a mattress that has the right firmness, suits your sleeping position, and minimises partner disturbance. Also, do keep in mind to get bedding materials that aren’t going to itch or aggravate any allergies that you might have.
Don’t forget to choose an equally supportive pillow because a pillow plays a big role in the health of your spine. Using the wrong type of pillow can affect your back and the quality of your sleep at night. Pillows are also designed for various sleeping positions, so it’s best to find the right kind of pillow that gives you enough support and comfort for your sleeping needs.
2. Say No Caffeine (Only near bedtime...phew!)
Many of us start our day with a cuppa pick-me-up coffee, and you find yourself energized and ready to take on the world.
A moderate amount of caffeine early in the day shouldn’t be an issue, but you might want to avoid it later in the day as caffeine is a stimulant which temporarily increases your adrenaline production. This may be disruptive to some people and subsequently impact their sleep quality at night.
It’s recommended to avoid taking any caffeinated drinks for at least 4 hours before going to bed.
3. Limit Screen Time
It’s not uncommon these days to find ourselves glued to our devices, especially before bed time.Your TV, laptop and mobile phone emits blue light, and this tricks your body’s natural rhythm into thinking it’s day time – keeping you wide awake and increasingly anxious about your inability to fall asleep.
It’s best to abstain from screen time exposure for about an hour before going to bed to ensure you have a good night’s sleep. Try winding down with a soft warm lighting from a bedside lamp to get your sleeping routine on the right track.
Grab a good book and play relaxing music instead!
4. Go To Bed On Time
In today’s fast paced, stressful world, it is hard for many people to stick to a sleep schedule. However, irregularity is sleep’s number one enemy. Our body works by natural rhythms that follow a 24-hour cycle, and the circadian rhythm is what controls our natural sleep-wake cycle. If you constantly sleep at an inconsistent timing, you’re more likely to feel wide awake at night and tired during the day.
“Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day,” says Sanjay Verma, Chief Sleep Officer of Hilding Anders Group. Therefore, good habit of going to bed at the same time every night will help your body clock predict when to induce sleep.
5. The 4-7-8 Method
Best-selling sleep author, Dr. Andrew Weil strongly recommends the “4-7-8” breathing technique. It is said to relax your body by increasing the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream, slowing your heart rate down and removing CO2 from your lungs. Deep breathing works by calming your nervous system, helping you fall asleep quickly and continue to stay asleep.
Here’s how to do the 4-7-8 breathing technique. It may take a little practice but you can master it in no time:
- Gently position your tongue behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there the whole time
- Exhale completely
- Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds
- Release your breath through your mouth for 8 seconds
- Repeat the cycle and you should find yourself falling asleep easier with regular practice
6. Not Too Hot and Not Too Cold
Nothing is more disruptive to sleep when the temperature is not right. Your best sleep happens when your body’s temperature drops a little. Malaysia’s temperature during the night is not too bad, however it could get pretty hot during drier seasons.
The ideal surrounding temperature for our bodies would be 24 degrees Celsius and is also the healthiest for the body. Most modern air conditioners function best between 23-26 degrees Celsius, which helps to save energy too.
7. Fresh Air and Exercise
Believe it or not, exercise is one of the secrets to a good night’s sleep. Physical activity during the day can potentially increase the amount of time you spend in a deep sleep at night. Try taking a walk outside during the day to keep your circadian rhythms healthy and regular.
However, avoid exercising too close to bedtime (not later than 2 to 3 hours before bedtime) as you will have difficulty falling asleep.
Sanjay adds. A good sleep will not only boost your immune system, it alleviates stress and anxiety, as well as supports cardiac health.
Sanjay Verma is the Chief Sleep Officer at Hilding Anders Group, a global bedding and mattress group that focuses on sleep, health and wellness. He is passionate about understanding customers’ problems and providing solutions that matter.