Day 1: Create the perfect sleep environment
Creating a harmonious sleep environment that’s cool, dark and free from clutter is the first step on the road to better sleep. Your body makes melatonin – the sleepy hormone – when it’s dark so blocking out ambient light with a blackout is a good place to start.
A warm bedroom might seem cosy but in order to initiate sleep our bodies experience a drop in core temperature meaning that a cooler bedroom environment is essential to aid the sleep process. The perfect temperature is somewhere between 16-18°C (60-65°F).
Day 2: Remove any distractions
Now we’ve created a sleep haven, it’s important to remove any tech that may hinder your sleep routine. The bedroom should be for sleep and sex only. If you binge watch Netflix or like to scroll through Instagram this tip is particularly important.
Nowadays, we’re so reliant on our phones it can be increasingly difficult to put them away, even when we’re going to bed. Why not try physically putting your phone away in a drawer (or even another room) if you can. Our phones emit a blue light which can disrupt our melatonin levels making it difficult to fall asleep. By removing the temptation, we can begin the journey to regulating our sleep cycle.
Day 3: Create a sleep schedule
We’re creatures of habit and having a sleep schedule can be very beneficial. We have an internal sleep-wake cycle that revolves around the 24-hour day. If you go to sleep and wake up at similar times every day, your body responds with the regular release of melatonin which aids restful sleep.
Haphazard sleep-wake patterns and weekend lie-ins can confuse the body clock and delay the production of melatonin, leading to a lighter sleep.
Day 4: Manage stress and practice a relaxing sleep routine
Life today is fast paced. We are always on the go which interrupts our body’s ability to function as it should.
If we’re constantly moving onto the next thing, our cortisol levels are continually high, and we can feel wired. Cortisol should decrease in the evening, giving our melatonin a chance to increase and for us to feel ready for sleep. Managing stress throughout the day and what you do leading up to sleep can affect both the quality and quantity of sleep.
There are lots of ways to promote relaxation, burn off stress and help you to unwind. It can be as simple as having a laugh with your friends, exercising, sipping your favourite herbal tea or adding essential oils to your night-time bed.
Day 5: Eliminate caffeine
If you struggle to sleep at night, avoiding caffeine from midday can be helpful. Caffeine begins to affect your body very quickly and research has found that on average it can take up to six hours to metabolise half the caffeine.
For example, if you drink a coffee at midday, you’ll still have a quarter of the amount of caffeine in your system at 9pm. This can mean you may struggle getting to sleep in the first place because you still feel alert and stimulated but it can also affect our deep sleep which is essential for physical repair – regenerating tissues and rebuilding muscles.
Day 6: Incorporate sleepy ingredients
Achieving a great night’s sleep can be affected by what you eat (and drink) in the hours before bedtime. Research has found that certain foods are known to calm the brain and help promote sleep.
For a more restful night Holly Huntley, Nutritional Therapist and Pukka’s Herbal Education Specialist recommends you stock up on foods that contain tryptophan – the amino acid that the body uses to make sleep inducing serotonin and melatonin. These include oats, walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, almonds and natural proteins.
Nature has provided us with some wonderful herbs too such as chamomile, which helps to relax the nervous system and can also help smooth out any tension left over from the day. Spices such as nutmeg have wonderful sedative properties to help prevent you from waking during sleep.
Day 7: Establish a post-sleep routine
All the advice we’ve given can be easily incorporated into a pre-sleep routine – that’s everything you do to prepare yourself for the best quality of sleep – but it’s important to remember a post-sleep schedule too! A good post-sleep routine will help you move from a sleep state to a fully awake state, so that you can manage your day positively.
Daylight is key to regulating daily sleep patterns. Try and get outside in natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes per day. Why not try exercising outdoors in the morning? That way, you benefit from the sunlight waking you up, boosting your serotonin levels and setting your biological clock for the day. You could also try stimulating your mind with a gentle mental challenge.
Remember, tracking your daily habits, as well as how well you’re sleeping will give you insights to use to improve your sleep going forward. Download your exclusive Pukka sleep diary here to monitor your sleep.
Stay on track
To help you keep track of your progress we've put together a handy pocket guide outlining each of the steps over 7 days. The guide also includes a free digital sleep diary so that you can track your progress. Simply download the guide to fill it in on your smart phone or print it and keep beside your bed.