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8 ways to get a better night's sleep

14th March 2014

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Friday 14th March is World Sleep Day – but with deadlines looming as the end of term draws closer, recent news that sleeping in the same room as your phone could keep you awake, and the fact that the clocks are going forward this month, we’re guessing that you’re probably not getting as much of it as you should.   

Aside from all important afternoon naps, sleep is not something that might strike you as a priority at the moment.

But it should be, of course – because without a decent night’s sleep a few times a week it’s not going to be long before your brain slows down and you turn into the world’s grumpiest human.

Luckily the snoozing experts at Silentnight have given us their top tips for getting those all important 40 winks.

Silentnight’s Dr Nerina Ramlakhan says: “It is important to practice a good sleep routine to optimise sleep quality. Simple changes can make a huge difference, such as writing to-do lists each day or incorporating more exercise into your day to day life. When the clocks change this will also have an impact on your sleep, therefore routine becomes even more essential.”

Good advice, we think.

1. Take regular breaks during the day - try to take a lunch break of between 20-30 minutes. Use the time to walk, stretch and recharge mentally.

2. Follow a regular wind down routine - read a book, listen to music or have a relaxing bath. Delay going to bed if you feel tense.

3. Manage the work/home boundaries - try not to let work talk spill over into your entire evening and bedtime. Allow your mind to wind down and switch off by writing a to-do list before leaving uni to ensure that worry doesn't come home with you.

4. Exercise - regular exercise is the most effective way of reducing stress hormone levels, enabling you to sleep more deeply.

5. Minimise stimulants - caffeine has a direct impact on reducing sleep quality. It can take up to 10 hours to remove the caffeine from your body from one tea or coffee. If you are having trouble sleeping minimise caffeine and drink more water or herbal teas. Alcohol can also impair deep sleep quality.

6. Waking up in the night - avoid looking at the clock and registering the time as this will make you worry further. Lie on your back and try to consciously relax each part of your body starting from your toes, working up to your head and your face whilst breathing deeply from your diaphragm.

7. Power nap - short naps of 5-15 minutes have been proven to be very effective at promoting energy renewal. A power nap involves relaxing into a near sleep state without actually falling asleep and still being aware of your surroundings.

8. Sleep environment - keep your sleep environment free of clutter and junk. Don’t bring work into your bedroom and keep your laptop and phone out of your bed. The ideal temperature is slightly cool so keep windows slightly open or have a fan in the room.

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