Health & wellbeing

Send me to sleep

Research shows that good-quality shuteye is linked to maintaining a healthy weight, as well as plenty of other good-for-you benefits. Here’s how to catch some more ZZZs…

Eat (and drink) well
If you struggle with sleep, you probably already know to avoid energy drinks, coffee and chocolate at night, as the caffeine they contain can act as a stimulant. But you should also swerve large evening meals of rich foods, as they can take longer to digest and make you feel uncomfortable. Instead, eat a dinner that contains a good source of magnesium – think nuts, seeds, wholegrain cereals, spinach or fish – as studies have shown that low levels of the mineral can cause poor sleep.

Make your bedroom cosy
Your bedroom should be a relaxing space where you can unwind. Hang blackout curtains at your window to block out unwanted light, choose luxurious sheets with a high thread count or invest in a high-quality blanket to keep you cosy. And to keep your body at just the right temperature for uninterrupted sleep, try to keep your bedroom between 16 and 18 degrees.

Learn to unwind
Bedtime isn’t about falling asleep immediately – your brain needs a chance to switch off first. Try setting an alarm or installing an app on your smartphone to prompt you to prepare for sleep an hour before bed. Known as the ‘golden hour’, this is the time to turn off your phone, laptop or tablet, as these devices emit light that stimulates the brain. Dim the lights, have a bath, read a book, or try meditating before you get into bed – these steps should help ensure your brain is fully ready to sleep.