5 ways to improve your sleep

It’s essential to go back to the basics of good health during this unprecedented time — and that includes good sleep.

Lucy Alderman, one of our Exercise Referral Instructors, has suggested 5 ways to improve your sleep during this time.

  1. Keep your sleeping pattern consistent

It may be tempting to stay up into the early hours of the morning watching your favourite Netflix series or playing your favourite video game. However, to help your wellbeing and improve your sleep, sticking to a normal sleeping pattern is key. Go to bed at a similar time and set your alarm to get up as you would do during a normal working week. If you’d like to use the time you’d normally commute to work to have a little sleep in, that’s fine, just adjust your morning alarm and stick to this. Consistency is key.

  1. Set a bedtime routine to relax and switch off

With everything going on at the moment, allowing yourself some time to relax and switch off from life is really important for a good night’s sleep. Activities such as reading, listening to music/podcasts and meditation or mindfulness are some good ideas for you to consider but do what relaxes you. Try to avoid activities that use a screen.

  1. Engage in regular physical activity/exercise

This is increasingly challenging with the shutdown of gyms, but we are permitted one form of outdoor exercise a day, whether this be a jog, walk or cycle. Let’s make use of it while we have the time to do so. Sleep studies have found that although exercising right before bedtime could lead to a poor night’s sleep, being active in the day could aid sleep.

There is lots of content being posted online from our own instructors at The Edge as part of our new hub ‘Your Home, Your Move’. Take a look for videos such as home HIIT workouts, cardio and postural exercises.

  1. Avoid caffeinated drinks from late afternoon

The average effects of coffee last between 4-6 hours!

Instead of reaching for your favourite coffee in the evening, look for decaffeinated alternatives as these won’t interfere with you trying to wind down. There are plenty of decaffeinated coffees and teas now available. If you want to go the extra mile, there are herbal teas containing ingredients such as chamomile, lavender and peppermint which all have properties to promote sleep.

  1. Don’t go to bed with a full stomach or having consumed excessive alcohol

Allowing 2-3 hours between your last meal and bedtime allows you to digest the food. Without this time you may suffer from heartburn symptoms which could disturb your sleep.

Although alcohol may seem to help you fall asleep, it actually reduces your rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep) which is the restorative sleep we need to help with cognitive development and learning. When you drink more than usual you may have to get up in the night to go to the toilet, so if you are drinking alcohol, try to avoid it too close to bedtime.