Ariana Pradal • 11.04.2019

Sweet Dreams –
How to Sleep Better.

Do you too want to be able to say: “Good night!” at the end of the day with confidence? Then we have a few tips for you to try, to improve the quality of your sleep. Mindfulness during the day and rituals in the evening may help you to sleep better and leap out of bed more alert in the morning. Because what can be nicer than starting the day fit and healthy after a good night’s sleep?

Rituals and routines

Even if it’s quite noisy, you should go to bed and get up at the same time every day. It’s best if you don’t deviate from these two fixed times more than 30 minutes maximum. End your day two hours before going to bed, and spend the rest of the time relaxing. If the everyday world won’t leave you alone, try keeping a diary and write about troubling thoughts and problems from the heart. Avoid bright light and the blue light from computers, tablets and smartphones before going to bed and in bed – as both keep you awake. Establish a go-to-bed ritual for yourself. Carry out a number of regular actions every evening: Lock the front door, switch off your mobile, turn out the lights, clean your teeth, do a few relaxation exercises or read a book. Don’t go to bed until your eyes start to close.

Eating and drinking

You shouldn’t have any large meals or drink alcohol three hours before going to bed. A little snack before you turn in won’t do you any harm, however. Alcohol does help you to fall asleep, but can disturb your sleep throughout the night. Caffeine, theine and energy drinks also prevent sleep. People who have difficulty falling asleep should avoid all of these pick-me-ups from the afternoon. Their negative effect on sleep can last from 8 to 14 hours, depending on your sensitivity. Nicotine has a similar effect. For this reason, you should not smoke after 7 p.m. If you’re curious, try going completely without stimulating drinks and nicotine for four weeks. If your sleep improves as a result, it’s worth while only taking these stimulants in reduced amounts and in the morning, after this trial period.

Air and motion

It’s important that you spend at least 30 minutes a day outdoors and that you exercise. Physical activity makes you tired. Practising sports before going to bed, however, makes you alert. You should therefore stop strenuous sports activities two hours before going to sleep. If you can’t get out into the fresh air during the day, an evening stroll is a nice and relaxing way to end the day.

Siesta and power-nap

You should not sleep during the day – with the exception of a power-nap of a maximum of 20 minutes, controlled by an alarm clock. Even a short midday nap can cause sleep disturbances. In warm countries people often have a siesta in the afternoon – but in so doing, they reduce their sleep at night by 1 to 2 hours. Even dozing off in front of the TV in the evening can have a negative effect on sleep.

Peace and darkness

If you can, choose the quietest room in your home for your bedroom. Make it cosy and furnish it in a way that makes you want to return to it. Make sure you have a mattress and a pillow that you are comfortable with and used to. A desk, ironing board, television or electronic devices have no place in the bedroom, which should only be used for relaxation and sleep. The temperature should be between 16 and 18°C, and the bedroom should be peaceful and dark, to enable sleep hormones to form and you to sleep deeply.

Awake at night

Don’t get annoyed if you find yourself lying awake at night again. Get up and take up a relaxing activity. Only spend as much time in bed as you need to sleep, and don’t lie for longer than half an hour in bed with your eyes open. You should only go back to bed when you feel really sleepy. If necessary, repeat this procedure several times a night. Don’t look at the clock all the time, as this increases your awareness of the need for sleep. It’s best to turn your alarm clock so that the face is completely unseen. If you wake up during the night, don’t eat anything. Because eating regularly leads to you waking regularly, as the body demands its usual sustenance.

Bright and alert

After getting up, it’s best to sit in bright daylight. This helps to stabilise the sleep-wake rhythm and lifts your mood at the same time.

Photography: Robert Nelson