Print Posted on 23/02/2017

Simple ways to get a better night’s sleep

Simple ways to get a better night’s sleep

Whether it’s the weather, ambient noise or simply the fact that sometimes our brains just won’t shut down, we’ve all experienced nights where we’ve had very little sleep and the zombie-like state it leads to the following day.

Thankfully, there are a few simple changes that we can make at home to help us get that extra shut-eye we so desperately need.

  • For some of us, even the slightest bit of light can stop us from falling asleep. If the light is coming from an outside streetlight or other source out of your control, it may be worth investing in black-out curtains for the sake of your own sanity. Inside, electrical appliances such as alarm clocks, phone chargers and digital fans can emit blue or red lights that can mess with our sleep rhythms. If the appliance isn’t in use, then it’s easy - unplug it! If you are using the appliance, place a book or similar item in front of the light to block it out. You may be amazed at the difference pitch blackness will have on your quality of sleep.
  • Check the temperature in your bedroom. The optimal sleeping temperature is 22 or 23 degrees – no wonder we struggle on those summer nights when the temperature sometimes doesn’t drop below 30 degrees! Body temperature decreases during the sleep phase and rises during the wake phase. Sleep is most likely to occur when our core temperature decreases, and much less likely to occur during the rises.
  • During the day, many of us put overt stress on our brains by interrupting tasks to check our phones, emails or social media. The more overstimulated your brain becomes during the day, the harder it can be slow down and unwind at night. Try to set aside specific times for these things, and focus on one task at a time. Then, when it comes to getting to sleep at night, your brain won’t be accustomed to seeking fresh stimulation and you’ll be able to unwind and fall asleep faster.
  • If you live on a noisy street or there is a dog next door that simply won’t stop barking, try masking these sounds with a fan, earplugs or white noise machine.
  • Certain smells such as lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang, activate the alpha wave activity in the back of your brain, which leads to relaxation and helps you sleep more soundly. Mix a few drops of essential oil and water in a spray bottle and give your pillowcase a spritz.
  • Poor air quality can lead to poor sleep. Placing a plant next to your bed can help purify the air as you sleep. Ideal plants for this purpose include lavender, jasmine, Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, gardenias and aloe vera.