No coffee after 4pm, no sports too late... And no sleeping pills at night to fight insomnia : these tips are far from new ! But have you really tried everything to sleep better? Here are three tips to help you for this : an appropriate diet, a bedtime routine and a comfortable bedroom.
Tip 1: Eat light before bedtime to fall asleep
Fatty food, high-protein meals, high-calorie soda, lots of alcohol: these (bad) eating habits should be avoided at night. Beware of digestive problems that can keep you awake. From now on, your watchword will be lightness. Make room for salads or meals based on vegetables and carbohydrates. Certain foods that help strengthen your immune system will also help your body better resist the winter period when the sun is less present.
It is also recommended to put a certain time between dinner and bedtime, two to three hours, for digestion. It increases your body temperature. To sleep, you will have to wait until after digestion to lower your body temperature again.
And if you thought skipping dinner would make it easier to fall asleep, don't even think about it! Your body will remind you sooner or later, including during the night. Normally secreted during the day, ghrelin is the hormone that will lead you through the night. If your body doesn't get enough energy, you may wake up, cut your sleep and be even more tired in the morning.
Tip 2: Improve the comfort of your bedroom
This tip for finding sleep consists of improving your environment, so that you can easily fall into a deep sleep without interruption, in a cosy and comfortable room.
First, setting your heater to the right temperature will help you get a good night's sleep (in addition to helping you reduce energy consumption). Set it between 16 and 18°C in the winter, don't go higher than 20°C. At night, your body temperature goes down; the regulation mechanisms work slowly. If your duvet is not enough, have a blanket at your feet so that you can grab it if it gets cold.
If noises wake you up, you should consider insulating your home. If, on the other hand, it is a question of visual discomfort, simple adjustments can make a difference:
- close the shutters completely ;
- install curtains;
- Turn off devices that emit light;
- replace a backlit alarm clock with a traditional one;
- redecorate your room with relaxing colors that help you to rest.
The mattress and pillows should be comfortable, to keep you warm without making you sweat, and to support your head. Are you dissatisfied with your bed? Do you move around all night until you find the right position? A change of bed or pillow is necessary: it could be the key to a restful sleep.
Tip 3: Try to relax at the end of the day
The last tip for finding sleep is to create a bedtime routine. An hour or so before bedtime, go for calm, relaxing activities without much mental effort or activities with bright lights. Forget the series of abdominal exercises at the last minute. Also, banish smartphones, television and computer screens that keep your brain awake and prevent you from relaxing.
Taking a warm milk with honey or a slightly sweetened herbal tea, which secretes insulin, just before bedtime can be beneficial. It optimizes the action of serotonin and therefore sleep. Some lemon balm-based food supplements can also help you reduce stress and promote relaxation at bedtime.
To maintain a regular rhythm, which guarantees sleep, get up and go to bed at the same time, or almost. At the first signs of fatigue (yawning, heavy eyelids), listen to your feelings and stop your current series or reading. There is no point in fighting it, you have to sleep correctly…
Your sleep is not to be taken lightly; your health and mood depend on it. From eating a healthy diet ahead of time, to a relaxing bedtime routine, to improving your bedroom comfort: which of these sleep tips will you choose?