How to Improve Sleep: 10 Tips
Have you ever got to the point where you’re so ridiculously tired, yet you can’t fall asleep? It’s like you’re too tired to sleep. And it sucks because you’re lying down just waiting to catch some zzz’s because you know otherwise that you’ll wake up feeling wired. You'll run on coffee (or if you're me, black chai tea is enough) the whole day, only to wind up doing the same thing – lying wide awake in your bed the next evening.
I’ve been there for sure, especially when I didn't have a proper morning routine and dreaded 8am lectures. But I’ve finally found some habits and foods that help with getting better sleep. Today, I’ve broken it down into a trifactor of mind, nutrition and habits. As usual, let’s begin with nutrition as it’s something I’m v fascinated by and am currently studying a course in!
This one often goes unnoticed! What we eat affects our digestion. There may be a chance that your reason for not being able to sleep could be due to your stomach struggling with digesting. Why does this keep us up? All thanks to a nerve that connects your stomach to your brain (the vagus nerve).
Tips for better digestion:
- Apple cider vinegar. Drink some water with a dash of apple cider vinegar. This will help with digestion by aiding the job of your stomach acid to break down food.
- Watch your caffeine intake. For those of us who aren’t gifted with a great caffeine metabolism, I’m sorry to say but that coffee is most likely doing you more harm than good when it comes to catching some shut-eye! I used to have a coffee a day, but being petite and blessed with Asian genes, I limit myself to one cup of black tea (preferably chai) and I am good for the day!
- Potassium & Magnesium. I love this point. These vitamins which are literally natural tranquilisers! Magnesium, in particular, helps your muscles and nervous system to relax. You can get potassium from a hefty amount of leafy greens (7-10 cups) and magnesium from almonds! At the moment my obsession is almond butter! I literally eat it from the tub with a hot chocolate. It's so good, you have to try it.
- Avoid overeating, and especially don’t overeat on protein as it’ll wire you up.
- Avoid eating junk food, as they’re full of chemicals and artificial additives that cause side effects to your body. If you’re struggling with ditching junk food, read my post here on how to change your mindset to do so!
- Exercise! Aim to get in 30-45 mins of working out to get rid of energy your body naturally creates. I find I need to workout at least 3 times a week to keep my body in a state of “wanting to relax”.
- Avoid screens before bed. You’ve probably heard this to death, but DO NOT look at screens at least 50 minutes before you intend to sleep. Darkness stimulates melatonin which triggers your body to fall asleep. Read a book instead! I personally love reading before going to bed. I set my alarm and make it a rule that I can’t touch my phone until the next morning.
- Stress less. Whilst you’re overthinking, you’re probably also holding tension in your body and stressed out from the hard day you had. An interesting fact I heard is that females tend to hold stress in the neck and shoulders, whereas guys tend to in the glutes (I find this hilarious).
- Do an activity that forces you to concentrate on its execution so much that it takes you away from thinking about life. I love playing my violin to decrease stress, as I'm concentrating on where my fingers are going and the position shifts. My boyfriend enjoys climbing because it allows him to have a mental break from life.
- If you are stressed because you have procrastinated, then GET TO WORK GAL, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Get off my blog (after reading this post) and write your to-do list, and prioritise!
- I go into depth on how to decrease stress in this post.
The other times you can’t sleep, it’s because you’re overthinking! You know that feeling when you get into bed and 2 hours later, you're still tossing and turning and you realise that for that time you were just overthinking? You’re thinking of all the things you did during the day, replaying conversations you had and trying to fix problems and dilemmas that are in your mind.
- Meditate before bed. If you find it hard to quieten your mind before drifting to sleep, you’ll find meditating beforehand will make it a lot faster. Whether it’s 15 minutes or meditation or a sleep meditation that you listen to during the whole night, (if your headphones manage to stay in your ears the whole time). I often create a Youtube playlist to come back whenever I need.
- Try journaling. Sometimes if I feel like writing thoughts down will work better, I'll journal instead (or even do both). Read about 4 benefits of journaling here.
hope you pick and try the tips you feel you want to try! This week I'll be posting how I deal with getting better sleep on my Instastory so come join me @kimberleywenya.