Daily Life

Struggling to fall asleep? These expert tips will have you dozing off in no time

What better time to kickstart your new sleeping regimen than on World Sleep Day?

By Alana Mazzoni
As humans, we spend roughly one-third of our lives in the land of nod, so it's no surprise that World Sleep Day is an internationally-recognised occasion dedicated to all things sleep.
But if you struggle to doze off at night or can't stop your mind racing as your head hits the pillow, you aren't alone - the average human spends seven years of their life just trying to fall asleep.
Research from leading sleep brand Flordis Redormin recently found that 78 per cent of Aussies find it hard to drift off due to being kept up by random thoughts, with "fear of the future/unknown" the leading thought reported.
One in five Aussies who struggle to sleep are concerned about money, followed by 17 per cent who feel troubled by work and relationships, while women, gen Z and millennials are the demographics who find it the hardest to fall asleep.
Forty-seven per cent of Aussies have taken steps to improve their sleep quality, with 20 per cent using calming apps or music and 16 per cent admitting to "distraction" techniques such as reading a book or having sex.
According to leading sleep coach Olivia Arezzolo, when you understand the importance of sleep for physical, mental and cognitive health, these statistics make perfect sense.
Sleep coach Olivia Arezzolo has shared her top five tips for re-hacking your brain. (Image: Supplied)
"Firstly, lack of sleep impairs the frontal lobe, which is responsible for decision making, judgement, concentration, and attention - a key reason why The Australian Sleep Health Foundation has reported that 29 per cent of all workplace errors can be directly attributed to fatigue," she tells Now To Love.
"After only one night of insufficient sleep, a University of Chicago paper found that stress hormone cortisol increases by 37 per cent, leaving you anxious, irritable and wired."
Olivia has shared her top five tips for re-hacking your brain and ensuring a good night's sleep as we enter into daylight savings and the colder months.

1. Reduce blue light

Light is our primary zeitgeber - the factor that controls our circadian rhythm, and therefore, melatonin levels. As melatonin is the key sleepiness hormone, this means that it is one of the most important things you can support in order to maintain healthy sleep patterns.
Olivia recommends reducing your blue light exposure by limited your use of devices and wearing 100 per cent blue light glasses, at least two hours before bed.
Sleep expert Olivia Arezollo recommends putting down your phone before bed or wearing 100 per cent blue light glasses. (Image: Pixels)

2. Go to bed at the right time for your chronotype

People tend to fall into one of four chronotypes (sleep types) - Bears, Wolves, Lions and Dolphins. Each have a specific bedtime that most closely aligns with their circadian preferences - for example, Lions are early risers so they'll go to bed at 10pm.
"Bears are slower to start their mornings and should go to bed around 10.30pm and Wolves (otherwise known as night owls) can stay awake ruminating for hours; so, they can afford to hit the pillow around 11pm," Olivia says.
"By adhering to this schedule, you are more likely to fall into deeper sleep when you go to bed - instead of tossing and turning for hours."

3. Read a book before bed - aloud

Olivia says stress is "definitely" a leading cause of what keeps us up at night – and can be felt as mild anxiety, a racing mind, ruminating thoughts and so on.
"And while reading is a great option to slow your mind, by reading aloud, you require more mental focus than reading to yourself, making it even more powerful for quietening a busy mind," she says.

4. Take a naturally derived sleep supplement

Naturally derived sleep supplements can help you fall asleep faster and can improve the quality of your sleep.
For example, clinical trials have shown that the naturally derived extract Ze 91019 has helped reduce time to fall asleep by 79 per cent and restored healthy sleep patterns within two weeks.
Sex leads to the release of hormones like oxytocin and prolactin, which is clinically linked to higher sleep quality. (Image: Pexels)

5. Have sex

Sex leads to the release of hormones like oxytocin and prolactin, as well as lowers the stress hormone cortisol – all of which leave you feeling more relaxed.
Understandably, lower levels of cortisol are clinically linked to higher sleep quality – so maybe it's time to have some fun before hitting the hay.
"If, however you are concerned about your lack of sleep and it is affecting your lifestyle, speak to a healthcare professional about the best pathway for you. If you are affected by anxious thoughts or notice significant changes to your mental health, consult a GP or psychologist," Olivia advises.
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  • undefined: Alana Mazzoni