10 Simple Steps to Better Sleep
Stop. Take a deep breath.
Now, let’s talk about sleep.
You might already know that sleep is the body’s time to recharge, repair, and fight off diseases. You might also know that 7-9 hours of sleep a night is ideal.
What you might not know, though, is that sleep quantity is only half the equation. Sleep quality is also critical. It contributes to good cognitive function, cardiovascular health, immunity and more. So, how do we take good sleep and turn it into great sleep? We asked Twinings’ herbal adviser, Sophia Forrester (Medical Herbalist, BSc, MCCP) for her top tips.
Get daytime sunlight
Your body has an internal clock that governs many of your bodily functions, such as sleeping and waking, and this rhythm is governed by light. Exposing yourself to sunlight during the day helps with daytime energy, and studies show that it helps to get more and better quality sleep.
Exercising in the day helps in the regulation of your internal clock. It can also reduce stress and anxiety which contribute to sleep issues. If you can exercise in natural light and fresh air – even better! Try to avoid exercising late in the evening, though, as the stimulation can keep you awake when you’d rather be winding down.
You've probably heard this one a thousand times, but it’s worth repeating. Many of us rely on coffee and caffeine to give us focus and energy throughout the day, but caffeine too late in the day can make it hard to wind down. Try limiting coffee to the morning, and switch to a herbal tea in the afternoon. (If you need some inspiration, check out our range of fruit and herbal infusions.
Limit blue light
Bright light may benefit us in the daytime, but exposure to it in the evening can interrupt the production of our sleep hormone, melatonin. Phones, computers and TVs are the worst culprits, so try switching off electronics at least an hour or two before bed.
Camomile is a fantastic herbal tea for promoting calm and relaxation, but it’s not the only one out there. Try teas that feature one of these or, even better, a combination of them:
- Passion flower
(If you are on any medication, please consult your health professional first.)
Optimise your environment
Remember Goldilocks? When it comes to your sleep environment, your body likes things just right. Whether it's too warm, too stuffy, too bright or too noisy – all of these things can make it difficult to fall asleep. Aim for a cool, dark, quiet room with good air circulation.
Create a night time routine
Sometimes the stress and excitement of our day can 'spill over' into the evening time, making us too wired to get to sleep. Try creating a wind-down routine a few hours before bed - a hot bath, deep breathing exercises, a calming cup of tea - just to name a few!
Avoid late meals
We know how good a late-night snack can be, but unfortunately, eating late at night can interrupt your natural sleep rhythm. When you eat, you're telling your body that it's time to digest, not sleep, and that can halt production of your sleep hormones.
Regular sleep times
Our bodies love a routine. If your sleep and wake times constantly change, your body begins to lose track of when to send you those “it's time to go to bed” signals. So, as tempting as it is to binge Netflix until midnight and sleep in till noon, aim to go to bed and wake up at approximately the same time each day.
Your ritual, your way
And, lastly, when it comes to sleep and creating a ritual that best supports you, the most important thing we can offer is it must support you and be for you. There are listicles aplenty out there, but at the end of the day, it comes down to you and what works best for you. This is your sleep ritual, so we recommend testing, learning and modifying as you go, so you create a wind-down ritual that works in with your life, rather than against it.