Struggling to sleep? The best time to shower and 8 other tips to nod off – The Sun

Posted: February 4, 2020 at 9:53 am

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THERE's nothing more frustrating than heading to bed and not being able to get those much-needed zzzzzs - especially when you've got a busy day to face in the morning.

A night of tossing and turning can not only leave you feeling sluggish and bleary-eyed - but, in the long run, it can impact on your physical, mental and emotional health too.


With just 17 per cent of UK adults getting the recommended eight hours' kip per night, it's about time we all start making a few changes to make sure we're at our top form each day.

Here, we take you through some of our top tips to help you drift off into the land of nod...

A new study has found that taking a warm shower 90 minutes before bed can help people nod off 50 per cent faster - and increase their total sleep time by 15 minutes.

This is because hot water dilates your blood vessels, improving your skins ability to lose excess heat.

And this helps your body to reduce its core temperature - a process that is key to falling asleep easily.

It is an essential factor in achieving rapid sleep onset

The researchers, from the University of Texas in Austin, said: "The temperature cycle leads the sleep cycle and is an essential factor in achieving rapid sleep onset and high efficiency sleep."

With 90 minutes before bed time being the prime time for a shower, that means you should be hopping in the shower at about 8:30pm.

Why that time? Taking a shower at 8:30 means you will be in bed and asleep by 10pm.

10pm is considered the perfect time to hit the hay as it enables you get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep you need to be productive the next day.

This is one that won't surprise you.

Phones or tablets that emit blue light have been shown to disrupt melatonin levels the hormone that regulates our sleep/wake cycle.

This is not just to get a good night's kip studies show a connection between overuse of phones and depression and anxiety.

TheNational Sleep Foundation recommends:

She says: "Information overload and constant connection can negatively impact your mood.

"While it might be tempting to cuddle up with your iPad this winter, make sure you allow your brain to switch off in the evenings.

"Avoid social media accounts and emails for 90 minutes before bedtime. Instead read a book, listen to relaxing music and have a bath using relaxing essential oils.

"A regular wind down routine like this will reduce feelings of anxiety and allow your mind to relax; making sure you get a good nights sleep and preparing you for the day ahead."

As the temperatures drop in January and February, the heating comes on but this can actually disrupt sleep.

This is because central heating systems dry out the mucous membranes, making you more thirsty during the night.

Dr Neil Stanley, ex-chairman of the British Sleep Society, says the optimum temperature for a good night is 18C or lower.

We need to lose around 1C of our internal body temperature, which sits at around 37C - to drift off.

If you're in a room that's too warm, your body can't dump that excess heat - and that means that your sleep will be disturbed.

Turn the heating off in your bedroom and instead use duvets, blankets and breathable bed linen to help regulate your body temperature.

Time is of the essence when it comes to your caffeine hit.

Drink it too early or too late in the day, and Dr Sarah Brewer, a registered doctor and nutritional therapist, warns it can stop you sleeping.

Dr Brewer believes that most of us are drinking coffee at the wrong times of the day - from our first cup (which is too early), to our last (which is too late).

She said: "Caffeine is the most widely consumed stimulant in the world and mainly works via adenosine receptors in the brain.

Caffeine increases focus and reduces the perception of fatigue

"This produces an alerting effect by increasing the release of some brain chemicals. Caffeine increases focus and reduces the perception of fatigue.

"By blocking adenosine receptors, it prevents the relaxing responses produced by adenosine and interferes with your ability to wind down and sleep.

She recommends that you have your final cup of coffee no later than 5pm - although chronic insomniacs might want to stop the caffeine consumption at lunchtime.

Music to many parents ears... no need to feel guilty, having the kids kip in with you IS bad for your health.

And it could prove detrimental to them too.

Not only will their wriggling likely keep you up, letting a child sleep with you can stunt their development.

Siobhan Freegard, founder ofChannelMumrecommends giving your child a nightlight if they can't sleep in their own room.


She says: "Soothing nightlights can be a big help for anxious children who are scared of the dark and come though to escape it.

"Choose one that plays soft music and dreamy patterns to aid their sleep."

According to the above chart posted onLifehacker,children should go to bedby a certain time... and it all depends on when they woke up.

A recent study found that participants who used supportive pillows had better sleep. But how do you choose the right one?

People who sleep on their side benefit from a firmer pillow, whereas those who lie on their front are suited to a softer one, says sleep expert Jamie Moryoussef.

Kip on your back? Harley Street sleep coach Max Kirsten advises going for a pillow that allows your head to tilt back slightly, such as a memory foam one, which conforms to your head shape.

Similarly, Research by the National Sleep Foundation showed that 86 per cent of people rated comfortable sheets as crucial to a good nights kip.

Eating before bed can really upset the body's sleep cycle.

Experts say you should avoid eating within three hours of bedtime to "avoid indigestion, acid reflux and even nightmares".

Helen Bond, registered dietitian, recommended the best snacks, including vegetable sticks with tzatziki, toast with salt nut butter and popcorn if the late-night munchies hit.

Here, Dr Helen Bond, registered dietitian, talks us through the best midnight snacks that are also diet-friendly.

Vegetable sticks with tzatziki made from low-fat yogurt, cucumber, garlic and lemon juice

Bowl of fresh fruit salad

Pot of plain low-fat yogurt with fresh berries

A few oatcakes topped with cottage cheese and tomato

Slice of wholegrain toast with no added sugar or salt nut butter

Small handful of unsalted nuts or seeds

Few rye crispbreads topped with mashed avocado

A few handfuls of air-popped popcorn dusted with cinnamon

Few slices of wholegrain baguette topped with homemade salsa made from diced tomatoes and red onion, garlic and coriander

Celery sticks filled with a few tablespoons of hummus

Bowl of salad topped with one boiled egg

She told The Sun Online: "Its best to avoid snack foods that are highly processed or refined.

"As well as being high in saturated fat, sugar and/or salt, theyre often low in nutrients and loaded with calories, and very moorish which makes it harder for us to control our weight."

A glass or two of wine, or a sip or two of brandy, for many is a pre-bed ritual.

But despite what you might think, experts say it actually doesn't improve our sleep.

That's because alcohol blocks tryptophan - an amino acid that helps you sleep - from getting to the brain.

Professor Malcolm von Schantz, from the University of Surrey, says: "Alcohol has a weird effect in that it makes it easier to fall asleep, but it makes it harder to stay asleep and it affects the quality of our sleep."

We're all guilty of letting our cats or dogs cuddle up to us in bed at the end of the day.

However, they can rob us of those vital zzzzs - not just because they fidget about, but also because of fur shedding.

On top of this, sleeping with a furry friend can also aggravate allergies or asthma in those susceptible to it.


Dr Ramlakhan says: "While pets can seem like a great bedtime companion, they are bound to disrupt our sleep patterns in the long-term, despite how soothing it may be to have them in the bedroom with us.

"We must avoid pets getting into the habit of sleeping in our beds with us as best we can.

"And ensure they have their own place to sleep, as well as being groomed regularly to reduce fur shedding which can also be a nuisance."

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Struggling to sleep? The best time to shower and 8 other tips to nod off - The Sun

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February 4th, 2020 at 9:53 am

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