Losing out on those rest hours because you just can't drop off? Let Dr Pixie McKenna lull you to a better bedtime
Better sleep tip 1: Turn off your phone
Dr Pixie says, 'These days, we cling to our phones 24/7, and the effect is that you don't spend as long in the restorative sleep phase because your brain needs time out to process all of that information.
'A bright screen also lowers your levels of melatonin, which regulates sleep, so have an 'electronic shutdown' of ALL devices 90 minutes before bed.'
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Better sleep tip 2: Avoid ALL caffeine
Dr Pixie says, 'To reset your sleep you need to go completely caffeine-free. That means no tea, coffee, fizzy drinks or chocolate.
'New research from Israel found that caffeine takes eight hours to clear your system, and those who drank it late in the afternoon took twice as long to drop off - and got, on average, an hour less sleep.'
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Better sleep tip 3: Don't sleep binge
Dr Pixie says, 'Don't be tempted to get by on very little sleep during the week, then repay the sleep debt at the weekend with mammoth lie-ins. Going to bed before you're actually sleepy, or sleeping in late disrupts your sleep cycle.
'Try to go to bed at roughly the same time every night, and get up at the same time every morning - seven days a week.'
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Better sleep tip 4: Make over your bedroom
Dr Pixie says, 'Use blackout blinds and get rid of lights - including little LEDs on radios, TVs and laptops.
'Room temperature is also important, around 18degC is optimal. If you share a bed, consider getting two duvets to suit different temperature needs, or get king size covers for a double bed if your partner is a duvet hogger.'
Better sleep tip 5: Don't force it
Dr Pixie says, 'Following an elaborate wind-down ritual is counterintuitive because obsessing about lighting candles, listening to whale song and sipping chamomile tea can mean you're trying so hard to sleep, you're not actually relaxed enough to drop off.
'Instead, focus on your breathing and try tensing and relaxing every muscle from the tips of your toes to the top of your head.'
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Better sleep tip 6: Stop worrying
Dr Pixie says, 'Lying awake worrying is a common sleep-sapper.
'Set aside time in your day to think about solutions to whatever's bothering you, and an hour and a half before bed make a to-do list for tomorrow. That way, your evening is free for relaxation and sleep - rather than fretting.'
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