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Anxiety Depression Mental Health Migraine

5 ways to help you sleep better

You go to bed early and are asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow yet you still wake up feeling knackered.

Sound familiar?

It’s frustrating to feel crap even after a night’s sleep. It’s even more frustrating when you have health conditions that are affected by sleep issues.

With what’s happening now, it’s likely that the stress is already affecting your sleep, which in turn is no doubt impacting your mental health and/or migraine.

It’s more important than ever to try and get a decent night’s sleep and so I thought I’d share 

with you, the changes I made that helped me to get a better quality of sleep.

5 Simple ways to get a better nights sleep

1# Check your pillows

I’m the kind of person that uses things right up until they are pretty much falling apart (seriously…you should see my trainers!) and until recently I was still using the same pillows I’d had for years.

Of course, by that time they’d lost all of their support and cushioning and it was the reason I often woke up with aches in my head and neck.

I decided it was time to replace them and since I did it’s made a big difference to my comfort and quality of sleep.

It’s also important to have the right kind of pillow because depending on what position you sleep in will affect what support you need. For example, I sleep on my front and so use a soft pillow so that my neck isn’t at the wrong angle.

2# De-clutter your bedroom

Do you have loads of stuff in your bedroom? Things like piles of clothes or books etc? Try clearing some of it out of your bedroom.
 
It might not seem like much but it’s remarkable how much having calm, clear surroundings can improve how well you’re sleeping.
 
I used to have a desk full of arts/craft stuff and paperwork, piles of clothes, books etc and after actually putting things away and making things more organised I noticed I felt much more relaxed when it came to bedtime.
 
As an additional plus my cats had loads more places to sleep and so they were happier too!

Simple changes to sleep well and start feeling better

3# Stop using technology at least half an hour before bed

I’m a repeat offender when it comes to this. 

I’d watch a film then get into bed right after and then spend ages tossing and turning. It didn’t help that it was usually a horror film!

If I wasn’t watching the telly I was using my PlayStation or typing on my laptop.

The problem with doing this is that you’re confusing your brain.

Our brains are programmed to begin releasing sleep hormones when it starts to get dark but the light from things like the telly signal the brain that it should be waking up not going to sleep.

Turning these devices off at least 30 minutes before bed gives your brain a chance to recognise that it’s bedtime.

This means when you actually get into bed your brain will already have begun prepping for sleep and it will be easier for you to actually fall asleep.

So instead of reaching for the tv remote maybe read that book you’ve been meaning to try or have a hot bath.

I like to sit and do my skincare routine whilst listening to an audiobook or one of the podcasts I subscribe to.

4# Don’t have any caffeine at least an hour before bedtime

I love coffee. Whether it’s lattes or instant I could quite happily drink it all day.

In fact, I used to do just that. From the first coffee on getting up to the one just before bed, I rarely drank anything else.

I used to tell people that I was used to it and so the caffeine didn’t really affect me.

But I was wrong.

Not only was I a lot more anxious in general but I also began to notice that the caffeine added to other triggers were bringing on migraine attacks.

I began cutting down how much coffee I drank and after a while, I began to notice that I wasn’t feeling as anxious and my migraine attacks reduced in frequency.

But one of the biggest changes I noticed was my sleep.

Since caffeine is a stimulant it was affecting my sleep.

After cutting down I found that I was falling asleep quicker and I was also not waking up as much in the night to go to the toilet (I’ve since learned that coffee is a diuretic and so makes you need to pee more)

I’m certainly not suggesting you stop drinking coffee (or other caffeine sources) altogether. I think I’d lose the plot completely if I went totally caffeine-free!

Instead, you could decide that after a certain time to switch to drinking a non-caffeine drink. Tea is a good drink to switch to.

Although there is actually more caffeine in tea than coffee, by brewing the tea (bag or leaves) you then remove them leaving much less caffeine.

Another option is to switch to decaf coffee. Whilst it does still contain some caffeine it’s much less than normal coffee. I now drink 1 or two cups of full caffeine coffee and then swap to decaff.

How to sleep better - my top 5 tips!

5# Change your nighttime eating habits

There’s a lot of mixed information on whether eating before bed is good or bad for you. 

But after doing my research (did I mention how much I love google?) it seems it’s more about what you eat and how much you eat.

Eating a large meal before bed is definitely not good for you as it can cause things like heartburn and weight gain as well as disrupting your sleep.

But going to sleep hungry can also negatively affect your sleep

The solution? Eating a small nutritious snack before bed if you still feel hungry. 

It turns out there are a number of reasons why this is a good thing including giving your body the fuel it needs to do its job during sleep and making you less likely to have a blood sugar drop in the morning.

Check out this post featuring Amy Shapiro (a nutritionist among other things) and Summer Sanders (Health coach) it’s what has made me start to change my evening eating habits.

I now do my best to eat my last actual meal several hours before I go to bed. Then, because I often feel hungry around bedtime, I eat a healthy snack such as a banana.

It’s also worth working out if you are actually hungry or just wanting a snack because of boredom or habit. 

For me, it’s definitely become a habit to munch away on crisps etc at night.

Breaking a habit takes time and effort so if you don’t feel you can change it right now then maybe just change to a healthier snack option. It can make a real difference to your quality of sleep.

Do you have a night time routine for sleeping well? I’d love to find out what it is! Let me know in the comments below.

5 Top tips for a better nights sleep

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