Here are some tips to ACTUALLY help you get to sleep
Do these and you’ll be fine
It’s exam season — you’re knackered, stressed out and spend your nights awake dreading an inevitable Desmond on all your papers.
Going into the library the next day after a sleepless few hours is only going to make you feel worse.
Here are a few tips from the experts on how to get the rest you need and stop being such a blithering, sweaty wreck.
Get into a routine
Shut-eye gurus at the Sleep Council say it’s important to get into a regular habit of going to bed at the same time each night.
Expert Jessica Alexander says: “It’s important to create an environment that helps you to sleep. Keep your bedroom just for sleep – and possibly for sex.
“Fit some thick curtains if you don’t have any. If there’s ambient noise, consider investing in double glazing or, for a cheaper option, use earplugs.”
They recommend a minimum of eight hours asleep in a quiet room — make sure it’s tidy, uncluttered and dark, so turn off all your lights.
The darkness helps us to regulate our sleep-wake cycle and lets your brain know it’s time for rest.
Avoid looking at screens before bed
If possible, shut down all your devices an hour before hitting the hay. The blue light shining out of your phone stimulates the brain and inhibits melatonin production, which is the hormone you need to sleep.
Eat right, sleep tight
This is an obvious one but lay off the coffee and energy drinks in the evening — alcohol doesn’t help either as it can keep you awake with dehydration and over-active digestion.
Studies have also shown after a few nights of regular boozing before bed you build up a tolerance which can make your sleep more fragmented.
Herbal tea and carb-rich food can help you nod off. Even your Gran’s favourite warm milk is good as dairy contains amino acid tryptophan, which aids the production of sleep-inducing chemicals serotonin and melotonin.
Sugary and fatty food are likely to make you feel sluggish and lethargic as they put a lot of demand on your digestion, and a stuffed or empty stomach can also stop you getting to sleep easily.
Relax yourself before bed
Sleep boffin Jessica adds: “Everyone will have their own way of relaxing. If you don’t know how to relax, you can get help and advice from your GP.”
Warm baths, light stretching and reading a book can wind you down. The Sleep Council says a gentle whiff of essential oils like lavender and geranium can calm you down.
Regular exercise in general, at least 20 minutes three times a week is good for general wellbeing — but vigorous working out won’t relax your muscles.
It’s all in your head
The Good Sleep Guide author Sammy Margo claims remembering the mundane details of your day in reverse order can clear your mind.
She says: “Recall conversations, sights and sounds as you go. It helps you to reach a mental state that’s ready for sleep.”
Closing your eyes and rolling the balls up three times can help, as Sammy adds: “It simulates what you do naturally when you fall asleep and may help trigger the release of your sleepy hormone, melatonin.”
Anxiety expert Charles Linden advises relaxing all your muscles can prepare for sleep.
He says: “Lying on your back, take a deep, slow breath in through your nose and, at the same time, squeeze your toes tightly as if you are trying to curl them under your foot, then release the squeeze.”
They all warn to avoid sleeping pills which treat the symptoms of sleeplessness and not the causes.