Dr Nerina's sleep tips

Meet Dr Nerina

Our resident sleep expert, Dr Nerina, has over 20 years-experience as a physiologist, author, consultant and sleep therapist. Here you'll find the latest tips on getting a better night's sleep for a happier, healthier and more active lifestyle - effective in just 7-10 days.

1

Breakfast is key

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

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Breakfast is key

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!

Caffeine has a direct impact on reducing sleep quality. The half-life of caffeine is approximately five hours.

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Moderate that caffeine… and alcohol!

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

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?

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Keep hydrated

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

Get an early night

Commit to getting to bed at around 10pm for four or five nights per week.

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Get an early night

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.

5

Be a power nap pro

Power napping is a fine art, but it is one that you can easily learn and incorporate into your day.

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Be a power nap pro

Power napping is a fine art, but it is 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.

6

Be smart with tech

An 'electronic sundown' 60 to 90 minutes before bed is strongly recommended by Dr Nerina.

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Be smart with tech

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.

7

Waking between 2am and 4am

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

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Waking between 2am and 4am

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

Waking on dark mornings can be extremely difficult. Dr Nerina has some sound advice here which we strongly advise you try.

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Waking on dark mornings

Waking on dark mornings can be extremely difficult. Dr Nerina has some sound advice here which we strongly advise 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

Ideally, your brain needs to be slightly cooler than the rest of your body for optimal sleep.

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Sleeping in the heat

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

Count your blessings

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

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Count your blessings

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.

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