How to get a good night's rest - according to a sleep expert
Getting a good night's sleep is essential for your physical health and it does a lot for your heart, weight and mind.
But a restful slumber doesn't always come easily, particularly in the summer months when the nights are both warmer and lighter for longer.
Here, hypnotherapy expert, Dipti Tait, offers some top tips on getting that all important rest.
Experiment with relaxation techniques
When it comes to relaxing and unwinding, you need to find what works best for you.
It is important to feel calm before heading to bed, as this will enable you to have a better night's sleep without interruption.
Deep breathing, muscle relaxation and meditation are effective techniques to help you unwind before bed (Photo: Shutterstock)
Experimenting with relaxation techniques will help to calm and quieten the nervous system, which sets the scene for switching the brain into sleep mode.
Deep breathing, muscle relaxation, meditation and even switching off technology, can be very effective in helping both the body and mind to relax.
Shut out the light
The main benefit of sleeping in a darkened room is that your brain will have reduced stimuli.
When the visual centres are inactive, the brain finds it much easier to switch off.
Blackout blinds are a great way of keeping the sun out during summer, so even if it's still light out when you head to bed, your body will think it's night time.
Reduce your stress levels
Everyone has different methods of dealing with stress, but one thing remains the same for all of us - stress has a big impact on our ability to sleep well.
As such, it is important to try and reduce those stress levels before heading to bed, as it will be very difficult to rest if you are feeling anxious.
Find ways that work for you to help manage and control the stress in your life. Things such as exercising, meditating and enjoying some quality 'me time' can be very effective in helping you wind down and feel more at ease.
Wake up naturally
Having an earlier night can help you to wake up naturally in the morning, which in turn can leave you feeling more refreshed and ready for the day.
A lot of people I speak to about their sleep patterns tell me they wake up just before their alarm clock is about to go off.
Having an earlier night can help you to wake up naturally, leaving you more refreshed (Photo: Shutterstock)
This is because they have subconsciously programmed their waking up time into their brain, so then it naturally wakes them up at the right time.
To make use of your internal alarm clock, all you have to do is instruct your brain to wake up at a certain time. Going to bed with the mindset that you're going to wake up at a particular hour will eventually start to come naturally over time.
How to combat fatigue when working shifts
Working shifts can also cause havoc on your sleeping pattern, with unsociable hours often meaning sleeping during the day to prepare you for work at night.
Shift workers do play around with their natural body clock, but it doesn't mean their sleep has to suffer.
Sleep is a restorative system that our brain and body need to effectively recharge and reboot, so it is crucial that we know how to sleep well to be efficient, healthy and productive.
If you find it difficult to rest after a night shift, the above tips can be effective in helping you to drift off to sleep.