If like 70% of people in the UK you are struggling to get those elusive eight hours of sleep every night, you might want to consider switching up your routine.
Instead of accepting you’re going to be up half the night and then relying on caffeine to get you through the day, you can take proactive steps.
Here are seven things that science says can help improve your sleep.
1. Having a purpose during the day.
It turns out that having a good night’s rest isn’t just down to what you do after dark, but is actually decided during the daytime.
This is according to a new study which attributes improved sleep quality to having ‘meaning’ or ‘purpose’ in your life; having to get up for work, making plans, socialising with friends.
Although the team didn’t clarify whether this is because being busy (and seeing other humans) is so bloody exhausting.
2. Eating dinner three hours before bed.
When we’re busy (read: watching back-to-back episodes of Love Island) sometimes our eating schedules can suffer, and just get crammed in whenever we have a spare minute.
But according to a report, eating three hours before your head hits the pillow will maximise your chances of good rest, because this is how long the stomach takes to empty itself and stop digesting.
3. Practicing mindfullness.
When we’re tossing and turning at 4am, unable to get back to sleep, practicing mindfullness and serenity might seem like the last thing you want to do. But according to expert Andy Puddicombe, this is the final piece of the puzzle.
He says: “It is this negative loop which can so quickly spin out of control and which is ultimately responsible for insomnia. You can’t sleep, which causes you to worry, which in turn prevents you from sleeping and so on”.
Mindfullness can slow this downward spiral.
4. Sleeping naked.
Acccording to various studies, going to bed without clothes will actually help you, as your body can more easily regulate core temperature, releases feel-good hormones and reduces your stress levels, which all help you get those eight hours.
5. Wearing socks overnight.
Okay, okay, so we know we just told you to sleep naked, but you might want to accessorise your birthday suit with a pair of socks after it was found that they can help you sleep.
The report from the Global Council on Brain Health said that having cold feet can often be a reason people wake up, so make sure your extremities are kept warm during the night as your core body temperature drops.
6. Cutting down technology use before bed.
Despite seeming like the perfect accompaniment to bed-time, turns out watching hours of Netflix isn’t actually conducive to good quality sleep. It is possible that this is because the artificial light messes with our internal body clock, but also the devices stimulate the internal nervous system, according to researchers.
Make sure you give yourself an hour of tech-free time before trying to sleep.
7. Turning on your smartphone features.
If you can’t resist reaching for your tech before you turn out the lights, then instead of accepting that you’ll have a bad night’s sleep as a result, make sure you are doing everything to mitigate the negative impact.
For example, turn on Apple’s Night Shift tool on your iPhone, which is designed to turn cold blue light from your screen to warmer oranges and reds.