Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep. It’s essential for maintaining good physical and mental health for everyone of all ages, genders, stages and sizes. It’s important for the growth, repair, and restoration of our bodies and cognitive functioning and is vital for supporting our immune systems and encouraging positive wellbeing.
Those who don’t get enough hours of sleep, or enough quality sleep, will feel tired and irritable the next day. A lack of sleep can be detrimental to your productivity and concentration levels and have more adverse effects on your health, including an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and mental health disorders.
If you’re looking to improve your sleep or struggling to nod off, we have some top tips to help you. From relaxing and finding calm to banning technology before bed, read on for some handy recommendations to help you get a good night’s sleep, wake up refreshed and reap the benefits. You can also check out ways to improve your sleep quality with our guide for better sleep.
What to do when you can’t sleep: three top tips
Follow these tips to help you doze off faster and get a good night’s sleep without interruption.
1. Unload your mind before bedtime
Avoid bringing everyday stress, worries and anxieties to bed. These thoughts can keep your brain alert and active and prevent a peaceful night’s sleep. Instead, try to relax and find some calm before hitting your pillow.
More like this
Make sure you create a tranquil, chilled atmosphere in your bedroom for optimum sleep hygiene. Try lighting a candle to bring some calm into the room, or use essential oils to fill the air with soothing scents. Check out our guide on how to use essential oils for advice from aromatherapy experts and a round-up of some of the best ones. We particularly like Tisserand’s Lavender Essential Oil to relax the body and mind before bed.
You could also try writing down some of your thoughts in a mindfulness journal to help take control and manage your emotions - check out our guide on how to start journaling and its benefits. Or incorporate some breathing exercises into your night-time routine to help you clear your mind, get to sleep quicker and get the most out of your sleep.
2. Leave electronics behind
Keep electronic devices away from your bed. The blue light emitted by screens can disrupt your sleep cycle, inhibiting the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Constant accessibility to electronic devices also disrupts your brain's ability to switch off fully.
Create a tech-free zone in your bedroom to promote better sleep. Avoid having a TV in your room, or at least watching something on it late at night, and keep your phone away from your bed or possibly even outside your door. If you rely on your phone for your alarm, you might want to think about getting an alarm clock so you can keep screen-free for longer and not depend on your tech.
It could be worth investing in a light alarm clock to help you nod off and wake up more naturally. Mimicking sunset and sunrise, these will gradually dim and brighten to regulate your body clocks and keep your bedroom phone-free. We’ve rounded up some of the best light alarm clocks to help you out - our favourite is the Lumie Sunrise alarm clock, which will gradually fade and glow accordingly to help you reconnect with your natural rhythm.
3. Get up if you can't sleep
If you find yourself lying in bed, tossing and turning for an extended period of time without falling asleep, it's time to take action. Instead of staying put, get up and out of bed. This simple step can help break the cycle of restlessness and make it easier to drift off later.
Try engaging in a soothing or mundane activity to help calm your mind and body. Folding laundry, reading a light-hearted book, or doing the dishes can be perfect choices. Making a relaxing cup of tea can also help, just make sure it’s caffeine free. Avoid bright lights and screens, and opt for a dim, relaxing ambience.
Remember, if you consistently experience sleep problems, it's advisable to consult a doctor. They can provide professional guidance and assistance tailored to your specific needs.
The best products to help you get a good night's sleep
We’ve rounded up some of the best products to help you nod off, from an eye mask to calming tea.
Drowsy Silk Eye mask, Amazon, £69: Drift off to sleep in total darkness with this eye mask and improve your sleep quality. Made from 100% pure mulberry silk, it feels super soft against your eyes and will block out external light in an instant. Check out our guide on the best eye masks for sleeping for more recommendations and doze in style.
Elesories White Noise Machine, Amazon, £23.98: Add this white noise machine to your bedside table to encourage a better night's sleep. It offers 24 soothing sounds to play for either 30, 60 or 90 minutes and will help you feel relaxed and fall asleep faster. Head to our guide on the best white noise machines for other options to aid a night of more restful sleep.
Hatch Restore Alarm Clock, Amazon, £182.13: Fall asleep to soothing sounds and dimming light with this light alarm clock. Customise via the Hatch app, which also features meditations and sleep stories to help you wind down. Check out our comprehensive guide to the best light alarm clocks for further recommendations.
This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, Boots, £21: Spritz your pillow with this lavender and camomile-scented mist and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep. The spray promises to bring you calmness and help you fall asleep faster - you’ll wake up refreshed in both your body and mind.
Pukka Organic Night Time Herbal Tea, Asda, £3.80: Naturally caffeine-free, sip on a cup of night-time tea pre-bed and let the relaxation kick in. The soothing natural ingredients of oat flower, lavender and lime flower will help you drift off to sleep thanks to their calming effects.
If you want more tips and advice on improving your sleep, check out our page on sleep, which includes breathing exercises for a better night’s sleep, tips for better sleep and the best eye masks for sleeping.
Cordelia Aspinall is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media, working across brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeForMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. She has previously worked and written for digital publications including Condé Nast Traveller, The Evening Standard, Cosmopolitan, and several other lifestyle brands.