6 min readPublished On: October 14, 2022Categories: How Tos

It’s the middle of October, one of my favourite months. Not only has the season changed, and all the colours are vibrant, but there’s a chill in the air and the nights are longer. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the summer but I also love being cosy; all wrapped up at home with the candles lit and watching all the best dramas but most of all, I sleep better.

I have always been a light sleeper. The slightest bit of light or noise will wake me, and it’s rare I sleep through the night in one fell swoop. 

With years of being a nurse working shifts, including nights, you would think I’d be able to sleep anywhere, but it was actually quite the opposite. Instead, I learned to get by on minimal sleep and just soldier on, irrespective of how I was feeling. Looking back, I wasn’t very kind to myself.

The Value Of Sleep Hygiene

Now that I’m older and would like to think a little wiser, I value my sleep so much more. Sleep is an essential part of life, so it’s important we change our sleeping habits and environment to get enough and reap the benefits.

There are many pros to getting adequate sleep. These include maintaining or losing weight, improving concentration and productivity, maximising athletic performance and strengthening your immune system. It is understood that poor sleep can lead to Type 2 Diabetes, depression, and increased inflammation which in turn can lead to disease and emotional imbalance.

Along with diet and exercise, taking care of sleep is one of the pillars of health, and we should focus our attention on it.

So, what can we do to ensure a better night’s sleep?

Have A Tidy Bedroom

You’ll most likely have heard the saying ‘messy room, messy mind’. If your bedroom is cluttered and disorganised, it can lead to a restless night and increased levels of anxiety, as demonstrated in a study by New York’s St Lawrence University. This study also showed that following a poor night’s sleep, the increased tiredness felt by the subjects, made it less likely they would tidy their room, and so they were stuck in a vicious circle.

Limit Device Time

Blue light which is emitted from devices; smartphones, laptops, TVs etc. tricks the body into thinking it’s daytime and can delay you swiftly getting off to sleep. Try and limit this use a good 2 hours before heading to bed or invest in some blue light glasses or a screen protector.

Create A Sleep Routine

Try to go to bed, and wake up, at a similar time each day, even on the weekends – I know you don’t want to hear this, but doing so can help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm and melatonin (sleep hormone) which signals your brain to sleep.

Avoid Caffeine

Consuming caffeine later in the day and evening will affect your ability to sleep. Period. According to the FDA, caffeine has a half-life of between 4-6 hours. This means that after consuming caffeine, half of it is still present in your body 6 hours later, keeping you alert and if it’s bedtime, awake.

Avoid Alcohol

You may fall asleep sooner after a few drinks, but chances are you’ll wake between 1 and 4 am when your liver cleans your blood. When your liver has a lot of detoxification to do, it requires more energy, and this can trigger your nervous system to wake you up. This results in broken and unsettled sleep. Try not drinking at all for a week (or more) and see how much better you sleep.

Optimise Your Bedroom Environment

This includes the temperature, the amount of light and noise. It’s been shown that heat interrupts more with sleep than cold, so it’s best to keep your bedroom on the cooler side and who doesn’t love being wrapped up in a duvet?! Noise is an obvious factor. If this is a problem for you, try using earplugs – I love the silicone wax ones; they block out a huge amount of noise. The slightest bit of light will awaken me if you’re anything like me. Since we installed black-out blinds, I’ve definitely been sleeping better. Before that, I used a silk eye mask which has the added benefit of preventing creases forming around the eyes – that’s a win-win.

Don’t Eat Too Late

Apparently, it is recommended not to eat less than 3 hours before you go to bed because it can interrupt with your sleep hormones. That said, if you lead a busy life and work long hours, have a long commute etc., it’s not always possible to leave 3 hours in between and still get an early night. Obviously, this can’t be helped, but you can look at what you’re eating – avoid refined, processed and sugary foods, which your body will have more difficulty with and may keep you up.

Have A Relaxing Bath Or Shower

Studies have shown that taking a hot bath 90 minutes before bed improved sleep quality and helped people have a deeper sleep. Personally, I love a magnesium salt bath, I find it super relaxing and calming.

Be Comfortable In Your Bed

This is so obvious but often ignored. If you don’t find your pillows comfortable, change them. Same with your mattress and bed linen. We spend far too long in bed, it needs to be our most comfortable place!

Get Some Exercise

Exercise is one of the most researched and science-backed ways to improve your sleep. However, if you exercise too late in the day, this can cause sleep problems due to its stimulatory effect – try and keep it to earlier in the day if you can.

Don’t Drink Fluids

It is best to avoid any kind of fluid 1-2 hours before retiring so that you don’t need to get up for the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Brain Dump

If your mind is racing and you’ve got loads to do, write it all down before you try to sleep. The more you can offload, the clearer your mind will be and the more chance you will have of a good night’s sleep. Rather than write a list of what you need to do each morning, write it the night before then at least you won’t wake up feeling anxious about all that needs to be done.


Some people like to go to bed listening to a meditation or calming music. Others like to read. I like to spray an Aromatherapy Sleep Mist on my pillow. Whatever works for you.

Sleep plays a crucial part in your health. Whilst many of the suggestions above seem simple, how many do you actually do?

When you’ve so much to do, it’s very easy not to prioritise sleep, but when you understand more about its functions and benefits, it’s worth assessing your sleep hygiene and patterns to see where you can improve. We need sleep to rest and repair; the better quality of sleep we have, the better we will function and the better we will be.