Are you struggling to get a good night’s sleep? A lack of adequate rest doesn’t just leave you feeling drowsy and unmotivated, it affects your memory and concentration1, your metabolism and even your immune system2. So, if you’re struggling to nod off – or if you wake frequently during the night – try these smart ideas to start getting a full eight hours of sleep.
Soak up the daylight hours
Getting exposure to a good amount of bright light during the day – whether that’s natural or artificial (although sunlight is always the better option) – will help regulate your circadian rhythm3(that’s your natural ‘body clock’, which tells your body when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to be awake) and should translate into better, longer sleep.
Get into a routine
The best way to ‘train’ your body to sleep well is by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day – and yes, that includes weekends. And while a Sunday afternoon nap may sound like a great idea, it will just have a negative knock-on effect with your night time sleep4 (sorry!).
Put away the electronics
Blue light – like that put out by tech like cellphones and tablets – actually interferes with your ability to sleep 5 because it confuses your circadian rhythm into thinking it’s still day time. The result? Your body will naturally produce less melatonin, the ‘sleep hormone’, making it more difficult to fall – and stay – asleep. So what can you do about it? Switch off all tech at least two hours before you go to bed, wear blue-light cancelling glasses or install a light-blocking app on your phone or tablet.
Say no to stimulants
Caffeine after a certain point in the afternoon is obviously a big no-no if you already battle with sleep but other things to avoid6 include alcohol, which can cause interrupted sleep, a rich, heavy meal too close to bed time may keep you awake as it’s difficult to digest and exercising too close to bedtime might actually give you a temporary boost of energy that keeps you up.
Try a supplement
With prescription sleeping pills shown to cause some next-day ‘hangover’ side effects (including drowsiness, impaired focus or motor coordination) in almost 80% of those who take them7, it might be worthwhile considering a natural, plant-based sleep supplement. In clinical studies in patients with sleep disturbances, Valerian root extract was shown to improve sleep efficiency and quality, with improvement observed in the first few days of treatment, and increasing within the next 2 to 4 weeks. Studies have also shown Valerian to be useful in relieving symptoms of nervousness and restlessness. Try Calmettes Nite, which is available in a pack of 25 tablets (12).
The temperature of your bedroom can have a surprisingly big impact on the quality of your sleep. Because our core body temperature naturally dips in the evening8, sleeping in a cooler bedroom will help you fall asleep as it can help give your body the signal that it’s time for bed. Having a warm bath or shower an hour or two before bedtime can also encourage the body’s natural cool-down. The ideal temperature9 for your bedroom? Around 18 degrees Celsius10, although the perfect temperature varies slightly from person to person.
Try the 4-7-8 method
A lot of people credit the 4-7-8 method11 for transforming their sleep routine. It’s meant to help you relax, release anxiety and fall asleep faster. How does it work? Inhale through your nose to the count of 4, hold your breath for 7 seconds, then breathe out through your mouth for 8 seconds. Fingers crossed it works for you!
- Calmettes® Nite Tablets, Abbott Laboratories S.A. (Pty) Ltd. Package Insert, 25 April 2004.
CALMETTES® NITE is a herbal medicine which has not been evaluated by SAHPRA. CALMETTES NITE is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. For full prescribing information, refer to the Professional Information approved by the regulatory authority. Applicant: Abbott Laboratories S.A (Pty) Ltd., Co.Reg.No.: 1940/014043/07. Abbott Place, 219 Golf Club
Terrace, Constantia Kloof, 1709. Tel. No.: +27 11 858 2000. Date of publication of this promotional material September 2022. Promotional review number SAF2248457.