Do you feel tired no matter what time you go to bed?
Or are you someone who goes to bed but stays up to the early hours processing your thoughts or playing on your phone?
Thankfully an expert believes they have found the answer for those who struggle if they don’t get their eight hours, reports Gloucestershire Live.
This means you can now go to sleep at 11pm and feel fresh as a daisy when you wake up.
Reset your body clock
● Waking up too early or not being able to drop off are both signs that your circadian rhythm (or body clock) is out of balance.
● Your body clock takes signals from daylight and darkness, and a recent study showed that light therapy was effective in resetting the circadian rhythms for 57% of insomniacs. All you have to do is sit next to a lightbox, such as the Innolux Rondo Lamp (£79 from Amazon ), for 30 minutes a day. If you wake too early, use the lamp in the evening. For late sleepers, 30 minutes in the morning should retrain your body clock.
8pm: Three hours to go
Aim to eat dinner at least three hours before you turn in, and try to have your biggest meal for lunch.
“Keep evening meals light and not too spicy,” says sleep consultant Maryanne Taylor. “If you do get hungry, you could have a light snack later in the evening – such as a piece of fruit – or a non-caffeinated drink.”
Our bodies digest food best when sitting upright or standing. Lying down after a big meal means you’re more likely to suffer from acid reflux, causing heartburn, indigestion and asthma.
While you’re asleep, your body recovers from the damage of the day – if you’ve eaten a big meal, your body will have to exert energy on digestion, rather than making these vital repairs.
10pm: One hour to go
Have a little snack that could help you sleep.
“The potassium in bananas has been shown to aid sleep, so they’re a great late-night nibble,” says Maryanne. Walnuts are also a good choice, because they contain their own source of sleep hormone melatonin, which may help you nod off faster.
Herbal teas are great for soothing a busy brain – opt for chamomile or a special bedtime brew like Clipper Snore & Peace (£1.48 for 20 bags).
10:15pm: 45 minutes to go
Now’s the time to stop looking at your phone or tablet – you’ve probably heard about the dazzling blue light emitted by these devices.
“The sleep hormone called melatonin is naturally produced at around the time we’re going to bed,” says Maryanne.
“Put simply, blue light inhibits the production of melatonin – meaning it’s harder to get to sleep. Plus, seeing a frustrating work email or an annoying Facebook post is a surefire way to wake you up.”
Invest in an old-fashioned alarm clock so you don’t need to be reaching for your phone last thing at night.
Tip: Some phones have an option to turn off the blue light, so it’s worth checking your settings. On iPhones, go to Settings, then Display & Brightness and turn on Night Shift.
10:45pm: 15 minutes to go
Studies have shown that reading for 15 minutes before you sleep can help your mind separate sleep from the stresses of the day.
“If you’re not a big reader, audiobooks are a brilliant alternative,” says Lisa Artis from The Sleep Council.
Make sure your bed is comfy, and remember that one pillow is better than two for your posture. Gwyneth Paltrow’s top tip for a great night’s sleep that will also have you looking extra swish the next day is to use pillows infused with strands of copper (£40 from currentbody.com ), which can help prevent the formation of wrinkles by boosting elastin and collagen.
Before you fall asleep, your body drops in temperature slightly, signalling the release of sleep hormones.
“Being an ambient temperature is essential to dropping off,” says Lisa.
“Some people like to sleep under a heavy duvet and wear light PJs or nothing at all, whereas others prefer thick bedwear and thinner covers – the important thing is to make sure you aren’t too hot because this will affect the quality of your sleep.”
Some women feel more comfortable sleeping in a bra. You may have heard horror stories that doing so could lead to breast cancer, but the latest studies suggest it’s perfectly safe to wear an underwire in bed.
If you lie awake for ages, thinking of tasks for the next day, try writing a to-do list to keep track of everything. For worriers, Maryanne recommends jotting down all the things that are upsetting you, and then throwing away the piece of paper.
“The act of writing them down clears your mind, and throwing it away is powerful and therapeutic.”
Waking up early and can’t get back to sleep? Try reducing your alcohol intake.
“It might help you drop off, but it can impact on the quality of the sleep, and can be a big cause of waking up early,” says Lisa.