Struggling to fall asleep at night can be frustrating and overwhelming, leaving you feeling anxious and concerned you’ll lay awake all night. Not getting enough sleep not only leaves you feeling tired and groggy the next day, but can also affect your mental and physical wellbeing. The clocks went forward last weekend, resulting in the loss of an hour’s sleep. If you’re still struggling to recoup that lost hour, there are certain things you can do to get back to your normal sleeping pattern. Dr Pixie McKenna, sleep expert for bed retailer Dreams, shares her top five tips:
Relax and unwind
Make sure you go to bed relaxed each night, as the more you worry about and overthink sleep the worse it is likely to be.
Having a herbal tea, taking a long bath, or reading a book, are all great ways to unwind the night before.
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the body’s internal circadian clock. It increases in the evening when it becomes dark, helping to induce sleep.
With the clocks changing and the night’s becoming lighter, it is even more important to make sure you go to sleep in a room with minimal light.
Try to make sure you have curtains or blinds that block out as much light as possible, and avoid smartphones and laptops one hour before bedtime as they can also inhibit the production of melatonin.
Even if you feel affected from the loss of sleep, it is important to still avoid naps. If you have to nap make it short and sweet, i.e. not more than 20 minutes.
Don’t eat too late
The clocks changing may make you feel hungry at different times, but a heavy meal just before sleeping may interfere with your sleep as your body is busy digesting.
Make sure you continue to have dinner at your regular time, allowing plenty of time to digest before you hop into bed.
Leave the bedroom
If you find you still can’t sleep after the clocks going forward, the best thing to do is to simply leave the bedroom.
Staying in bed and becoming frustrated will mean it not only takes longer to fall asleep, but it will also create a negative connection with your bed.
Go downstairs and read a book or watch TV until you feel sleepy and then return to bed ready to drift off.
“The change [in clocks] is very unlikely to affect you in the long term, so the best thing to do is to try and not overthink it too much and simply let your body guide you,” said Dr Pixie.
“However, there are a few things you can do to ensure the transition is smooth, and you can continue going to sleep at your usual bedtime.”