How to improve sleep the natural way

Whether it’s due to stress, caffeine or digital burnout, almost half of women in the UK are sleep-deprived. This exhaustion will leave you feeling listless and sluggish and can lead to long term health problems. If you‘re finding it hard to drop off, try these easy solutions to achieve peaceful, quality slumber. 

 



1. Digital Detox

A quick Instagram scroll before bed can soon turn into an hour. As well as delaying your sleep, the blue light from screens will stimulate your brain at the crucial time it should be winding down.

A complete screen ban in the bedroom is a failsafe method, but if that’s not possible, simply switch your device off an hour before you intend to fall asleep and try reading instead. Create a comfortable sleepingenvironment you look forward to retiring to, and try to establish a set nighttime routine that your bodyclock can naturally adapt to over time.



2. Limit caffeine

Your morning latte, mid-afternoon Americano and evening tea soon add up, and it’s easy to consume a lot of caffeine in a day without even realising it. This can wreak havoc on our sleeping patterns. Try to limit your coffee to one to two cups per day, or switch to white tea or green tea for a lower caffeine dose. It’s also best to avoid caffeinated drinks in the evening.



3. Aromatherapy

Relax your mind and body ready for sleep with the calming scents of essential oils. Lavender, jasmine and bergamot are all known for their sleep-inducing properties. Add to your evening bath, apply to your pulse points, or spritz some sleep spray on your pillow.



4. Your cup of tea

Introducing a cup of herbal, non-caffeinated tea to your nighttime ritual can help you unwind. Certain types of tea will also aid your digestion and help to release stress. Chamomile is particularly effective, and mint tea will soothe any mild stomach upsets.



5. Work it out

Exercising during the day will help to physically tire your body out and ensure a deeper, better quality night of sleep. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try to gently increase your physical activity ­– 10 to 20 minutes of yoga in the morning or an evening walk will work wonders.

Find more health and wellbeing advice on the GP blog Nutrition section.