The secret to a great night's sleep

Dr Nerina's Better Sleep Tips

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Our research has revealed that a massive 75% of people in the UK are not getting a good night's sleep. And its not surprising - with increasing pressure at home and work, not to mention modern technology making us 'switched on' at all hours of the day, finding time to let go and unwind can be difficult.

Fortunately, Dr Nerina is on hand with some practical and proven tips to help you get a better night's sleep. She's confident that you'll feel a difference if you try these for seven to ten days.

  • 1) Breakfast is key
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    It's so important that it's obvious! Breakfast within half an hour of rising is key.

    Having something to eat not only sets you up for the day ahead, but it regulates your melatonin production, to ensure a better night's sleep for the coming evening.

  • 2) Moderate that caffeine... and alcohol!
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    Caffeine has a direct impact on reducing sleep quality. The half-life of caffeine is approximately five hours. This means that it can take up to ten hours to completely remove all of the caffeine from your body if you drink a cup of tea or coffee.

    Consider replacing your afternoon coffee with herbal tea or decaffeinated variants of tea and coffee, particularly if you find that you wake up feeling unrefreshed despite having slept for eight hours or so.

    Alcohol can also impair deep sleep quality, and make you likely to wake up feeling tired and fuzzy-headed after the previous night's indulgence.



  • 3) Keep hydrated
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    A litre and a half of water per day is essential for great health and a great sleep, as a minimum. Why not aim for two litres? 

    Dr Nerina understands that all of that plain water might not be palatable, so she suggests infusing with lemon or whatever else gets your tastebuds going. However, that doesn't mean to say we should be replacing water with sugar and caffeine-laden soft drinks!


  • 4) Be smart with tech
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    An 'electronic sundown' 60 to 90 minutes before bed is strongly recommended by Dr Nerina. She suggests winding down by watching TV before bed - but do this in another room.

    Once in bed, veto phones, tablets and devices that emit blue light. Your sleep will reward you for choosing to rest rather than scrolling through your social media feed.

  • 5) Get an early night
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    Commit to getting to bed at around 10pm for four or five nights per week. This will ensure that you allow your body to rest through important sleep cycles, which help regulate health and emotional wellbeing. 

  • 6) Be a power nap pro
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    Power napping is a fine art, but it's one that you can easily learn and incorporate into your day.

    10 to 20 minutes is all you need here, to feel real benefits. Dr Nerina recommends selecting a period between 2pm and 4pm: any later will affect your evening's sleep.

    At first, you may feel very conscious of your thoughts and that you aren't really 'napping,' but persistence pays off. After a few days, you'll notice your thoughts drop down to a more restful, allowing your body to have that crucial power nap.


  • 7) Waking between 2am and 4am
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    Waking up between 2am and 4am is one of the most common and disruptive sleep phenomenons.

    Dr Nerina advises allowing yourself to use the toilet or have some water, but to then return to bed to 'rest,' before your thoughts run away with you or you check your phone.

    All of the above can wait: you owe yourself some rest, so give yourself permission to get back into bed.

  • 8) Waking on dark mornings
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    Waking on dark mornings can be extremely difficult. Dr Nerina has some sound advice here, however, which we strongly recommend you try.

    Leave your curtains open just a crack, to allow any light that is available to filter through. This will prompt a natural awakening, leaving you in control of your alarm clock, rather than vice versa.

    Further to this, the power of suggestion is huge here. Tell yourself that you won't oversleep, to avoid entering another sleep cycle and being awoken by your alarm mid-way, in an sluggish state. 

  • 9) Sleeping in the heat
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    Getting to sleep when it's warm can be a chore. Dr Nerina wants to ensure that you're well rested to enjoy the weather the next day, particularly if you've invested in going away on holiday.

    Her tips are a little more inventive than just having a fan on hand!

    Ideally, your brain needs to be slightly cooler than the rest of your body for optimal sleep, so pick up a menthol stick from a chemist and rub some on your forehead.

    Your feet should be cooler, too, so keep them outside of the sheets in warm weather.

    Finally, it pays to pop your sheets in the freezer to facilitate a nice, cool sleep!


  • 10) Advice for shift workers
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    Dr Nerina has a wealth of experience with shift workers. Working the night shift can take its toll on your health, but you can remain in control and in great condition by focusing on your diet.

    It's likely that you'll enjoy some caffeinated drinks to keep you perked up on shift, which is fine - but don't over-empahsise these.

    Eating little and often on your shift will also aid a good sleep, as will being restful once you arrive home. 

    Finally, getting in some exercise will make for sound and restorative sleep.


  • 11) Advice for new mums
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    If you're a new mum, congratulations! We know how sleep-deprived you must be, so we've enlisted Dr Nerina to provide some specific tips for you, in this video.

    Dr Nerina tells you to be kind to yourself, to delegate, to work at overcoming any perfectionist tendencies and to get some sleep whenever you can. She even suggests making yourself some breakfast to take to bed for the morning ahead! 


  • 12) Count your blessings
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    Far more effective than counting sheep, counting your blessings is a way to drift off into the deepest and most restorative sleep.

    It's the simple things that we need to be thankful for: a nice cup of tea, a joke shared during the day or a lovely meal.

    Dr Nerina is a huge advocate of this approach to reflecting on your day. Not only does it aid a great sleep, but it ensures a better waking mentality for the morning.


At Silentnight, we know the secret to a great night’s sleep

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