9 hints for better sleep

I think we can all agree that there are few things better than getting a great night's sleep, yes? Especially now when it's dark and cold Winter in Melbourne.

It's great for your mood, your immunity, your brain function...

I've said before that it's a Big Deal if you regularly get too little sleep - 

most healthy adults need between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best.Children and teens need even more (see box at right). And despite the notion that our sleep needs decrease with age, older people still need at least 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep.

I know for me, that can sometimes be elusive. It's very frustrating, but I do sometimes bring it on myself, by reading (or working, or, worst of all, internetting) too close to bedtime or just too late. Plus, I like to have the cat in the bed and cute as she is, she can be a really disruptive little fluff monster.

Also, days when I don't get enough exercise often set me up for a bad night. Bah.

Anyway. If you also battle to sleep sometimes, here are a few hints to help. 

  1. Find ways to reduce your stress - meditating and yoga help.
  2. Speaking of exercise - and specifically yoga - you can do it in bed, to help you wind down, and to move your body a bit if you didn't get a chance during the day.
  3. Or, if you have more time do some restorative yoga to help unwind your nervous system (there's a free download on that post).
  4. Make your room as dark as possible
  5. Screen-free after 9pm
  6. Avoid caffeine (yes, that includes chocolate, sorry) after about 2pm
  7. Keep your bedroom cool but your bed warm
  8. Take your calcium and magnesium supplements at night as they can help you sleep. That's why a glass of warm milk is meant to help too.
  9. Alcohol is a nervous system stimulant, so even though it might make you drowsy, it'll affect your sleep quality. Go light if you are a bad sleeper.