Sometimes, like after a hard day at work, it can be difficult to shut your brain off long enough to get those desired 8 hours of sleep. Powering down your phone, exercising, and taking a nice bath are just a few examples of things that can help you get a good night’s rest. Dr. Michael Mosley, author of THE CLEVER GUT DIET, shares his dos and don’ts for better sleep.
There’s plenty of sleep advice out there, most of which I’ve tried and some of which has helped. The best-tested, scientifically based advice includes the following:
- Set your alarm clock to wake you up at the same time every morning. This creates a ritual and your body loves rituals. Sadly, that means no weekend sleep-ins.
- Try to go for a walk before breakfast. Morning light switches off your brain’s production of melatonin, the hormone that helps put you to sleep. Bright light really will perk you up. If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder (the winter blues) this will be particularly helpful.
- Do some exercise during the day. Lots of studies show that exercise improves quality of sleep.
- Prepare for sleep at least ninety minutes before you go to bed. Eating late at night is really bad for your body and forcing your gut to do lots of heavy digestive work is not going to improve the quality of your sleep.
- Having a warm bath or hot shower at least an hour before going to bed can also be helpful, as long as you cool down afterward. It is the drop-in body temperature that cues your brain that it is time to sleep. at is also why you should try to sleep in a cool room.
- Avoid watching TV, being on your phone or social media in the run-up to bedtime. This is partly because these activities are overly stimulating, but also because the blue light screens typically emit will wake your brain up. Do not, whatever you do, watch TV or use your laptop in bed. Bed should be for sleeping and sex, nothing else.
- Cut down on late-night boozing. Alcohol may help you go to sleep but it will also ruin your REM sleep. Whether or not you choose to drink coffee in the evening is a more individual thing. Some people are fast caffeine metabolizers, meaning they have a gene that breaks down caffeine particularly fast. I’ve been tested; I’m a fast metabolizer and drinking coffee at night makes very little difference to my sleep quality. My wife, on the other hand, is a slow metabolizer and can’t drink coffee after lunch or she will sleep really badly.
- Before you go to sleep, write down three good things that happened to you that day. This has been shown to be one of the best ways to improve mood.
For more sleeping advice pick up a copy of THE CLEVER GUT DIET by Michael Mosley.
Also from Tips on Life & Love: How to Use Sleep Affirmations for Better Rest
Excerpted from The Clever Gut Diet by Michael Mosley. Copyright © 2018 by the author. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.