How can we sleep well at night? Tips and tricks for a great night’s sleep.

How can we sleep well at night? Tips and tricks for a great night’s sleep.

Sleeping well is essential to ensuring good mental and physical health, but we’re not all able to fall asleep easily or to enjoy a restful sleep. There is nothing worse than spending hours staring at the ceiling, or tossing and turning in the hope that you might find that magic position that will lull you all the way to the land of Nod.

Once you’re onto the 1000th sheep, it’s probably time to switch things up to improve your sleep. How long has it been since you truly slept like a log?

Why is it important to sleep well?

Sleeping well is essential for our whole body to function properly:

  • for the nervous system, sleep helps the brain to process information to aid memory, to produce hormones, and to maintain our psychological and emotional well-being.
  • for the cardiovascular system, which relies on sleep to regulate blood pressure.
  • for the immune system, sleep is needed to produce antibodies and cytokines, which are vital for the immune system to work properly.

The effect sleep has on cognitive brain function is even more obvious: this can be corroborated by anyone who has experienced having to face a day packed full of meetings at the office or a tight deadline after a sleepless night, struggling to keep your head in the game and your eyes on the screen.

Not to mention students who have had to take a difficult exam after pulling an all-nighter revising, without giving their brain the time to process the information by sleeping.

And what about those of us out there who have had to cope with babies not wanting to fall asleep, or those who have struggled to get to the end of a cardio fitness session at the gym, without having been able to prepare at least psychologically by dreaming of idyllic Caribbean beaches?

Life is challenging enough, even when we do sleep well and have the energy we need, so taking on the day with a low battery can cause a great deal of frustration and suffering.

What are the symptoms of a lack of sleep?

We have seen how sleeping well contributes to the proper functioning of the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system and the immune system. In a nutshell, a lack of sleep for a prolonged period of time can seriously damage our overall health. To avoid going down that dangerous road, we need to be able to recognize the main symptoms of a night-time routine that is not conducive to sleep.

Here are some symptoms that may suggest that you are not sleeping well and that your brain is suffering:

  • drowsiness and grogginess during the day: this indicates that your body is asking you for something that it is not getting: sleep! Daytime drowsiness can be very dangerous, because you risk falling asleep during important activities like driving.
  • a feeling of physical tiredness, mental fatigue, a lack of energy and sluggishness: the body is running on a low battery and enters energy-saving mode (just like your phone!), in an effort to conserve its remaining energy resources for as long as possible.
  • difficulty concentrating or focusing on what you are doing: mental tiredness presents itself in the same way as physical tiredness. The ability to pay attention and understand new information, problem-solving and studying take longer than usual as cognitive processes slow down.
  • difficulty making decisions: the inability to foresee the consequences of your actions can lead you to make bad, impulsive decisions that you may often go on to regret, perhaps the next time you look at your bank statement!
  • irritability, a bad mood and anxiety: even managing your emotional state, which involves complicated brain structures, is affected by a lack of sleep.
  • feeling hungry: the production of hormones that manage the sense of fullness and hunger is compromised, which is why a lack of sleep is a key risk factor that may lead to a poor diet.

Tips and tricks for a restful sleep

We have talked about how important it is to sleep well at night, but getting the brain to switch off can sometimes not be enough. With all the best intentions in the world, it sometimes is simply impossible to fall asleep. This is why we are committed to helping all the sleep-deprived people out there, by offering some tips and tricks so you too can get those Zzzs.

1. Try to stay in tune with the hours of day and night

Sleep is linked to a cycle that involves our whole body, known as the circadian rhythm, and that prepares our metabolism to have the energy it needs during the day and to be ready for rest when the sun sets. Ideally, if your work allows, you should reserve the night-time hours for rest and only take brief additional rests during the day. It is therefore a great idea to get plenty of light during the day to help you sleep better at night!

2. Go to bed and wake up at the same time

It is a good idea in general to stick to a stable and regular routine that separates daily activities into working hours, meals, physical activity and sleep. Stability and habit help the body to know when it is time to expend energy and when to relax, which is why it is important to go to bed and fall asleep at consistent hours.

3. Create a restful environment

As we have already established, lighting is a key part of sleeping well: the room where you sleep should be protected from any outdoor night-time lighting, while the morning light should be able to filter in to prepare your brain to wake up and make the waking up process more peaceful.

Try to eliminate any excessive noise, avoid going to sleep with the television on and put your phone on silent or turn off notifications while you are asleep.

Your mattress and pillow don’t have to be top notch, and every person has their own preference, but the important thing is that they are adapted to your posture and are replaced when necessary.

4. Turn down the thermostat

This contributes to the natural decline in your body temperature that happens at night: we advise an ideal temperature of 16-19°C to help you sleep better.

5. Reduce stimulating activities before bedtime

To help you sleep better, we recommend cutting down on activities that could stimulate your body too much before you go to bed. It is therefore a good idea to avoid eating before sleeping, because digestion will activate your metabolism.

Contrary to popular belief, you should avoid smoking before sleeping, because nicotine stimulates the brain.

It is okay to do physical activity, but intense exercise should be limited to daytime hours. Stick to a gentle walk after dinner to stimulate digestion and help to tire out the body. Sports enthusiasts should focus on only light exercise in the evening hours.

6. Do not use your phone or computer in the last hour or two before going to sleep

Device screens emit blue light, which stimulates the brain circuits that control wakefulness, making them the ultimate nemesis of anyone who wants a great night's sleep.

7. Don’t work from your bed

Dedicate your bed solely to restful and enjoyable activities, and avoid using it for work. This should help you to avoid any unwelcome stressful thoughts springing to mind before you fall asleep.

8. Relax your mind

Dedicating a few minutes before you go to bed to meditation or yoga can help to clear your mind of negative thoughts and therefore have a more restful sleep. If you are not familiar with meditation or yoga, you can start with the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Here’s how it works:

  • Exhale deeply, breathing out all the air from your lungs
  • Inhale through the nose, keeping the mouth closed, counting to 4 in your head
  • Try to hold the air in your lungs, counting to 7 in your head
  • Exhale through your mouth, counting to 8 in your head
  • Repeat this sequence for a total of three times

9. Relax your body

You can go for a warm bath, essential oils for aromatherapy, or ask your partner for a massage. You can also try out the muscle and joint relaxation technique, which involves tightening and then relaxing all your muscles one after the other, starting with your toes and slowly scanning up the body, from the calves, to the thighs, to the buttocks, and finally up to the head.

10. Eat better

Some foods play a significant role in regulating sleep. Carbohydrates, for example, are a great ally to sleep, and removing them from your diet or reducing your consumption can negatively affect your sleep. What’s more, some foods rich in magnesium or tryptophan can positively impact your quality of sleep. Some foods that we recommend to help you sleep include: apricots, bananas, cherries, lettuce, kiwi, almonds, rice and oats.

On the other hand, some foods contain substances that can act as a stimulant, which are the enemy of good sleep. These include foods containing an excessive amount of sugar, caffeine, protein and alcohol. You should avoid these foods before going to bed.

11. Give yourself a helping hand with sleep supplements

Last but not least, you can take sleep supplements containing melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone produced by our brain that can help to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. Other substances commonly used include valerian root, chamomile, lemon balm and lavender, which facilitate relaxation and therefore sleep.


  • Dietary supplements are not intended to substitute a varied and balanced diet and should be taken as part of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Melatonin contributes towards reducing the time it takes to fall asleep.


  • Chellappa, Sarah L., et al. "Acute exposure to evening blue‐enriched light impacts on human sleep." Journal of sleep research 22.5 (2013): 573-580.
  • Haskell, Edwin H., et al. "The effects of high and low ambient temperatures on human sleep stages." Electroencephalography and clinical neurophysiology 51.5 (1981): 494-501.
  • Rusch, Heather L., et al. "The effect of mindfulness meditation on sleep quality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials." Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1445.1 (2019): 5.
- Dietary supplements are not intended to substitute a varied and balanced diet and should be taken as part of a healthy lifestyle. - Melatonin contributes towards reducing the time it takes to fall asleep
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