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Have you ever gone to bed early thinking you’d finally get that much needed rest, only to toss and turn with sleep evading you? Well, you’re not alone. We’ve all had nights when we can’t quite manage to switch off and had our thoughts running through our head, becoming more catastrophic and anxiety-inducing, especially with the pandemic that’s happening right now.

Earlier today, Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore Editor-in-Chief Kenneth Goh shared his top tips for improving sleep quality with Angelique Teo on One FM 91.3.

1. Put Away Your Gadgets

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This might seem like a no brainer, but keep your technological gadgets away when you sleep. If you can put it out of your bedroom, that’s even better.

Whether you’re working from home or back in the office, telecommuting and overtaken our lives and the constant stimuli from technological gadgets can be exactly what’s preventing you from getting the rest you need. According to experts, technology activates the beta brainwave state (present when we’re alert, attentive, engaged in problem solving, decision-making and engaged mental activity, etc.) and can be anxiety-provoking.

So do you yourself a favour and put your iPhone, iPad and Macbook down. Instagram and Netflix will still be there tomorrow morning—we promise!

Related article: The 8 Best Sleep Masks

2. Set Aside Time To Relax Before Bed

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Setting time aside to wind-down from your day is crucial to getting a good night’s sleep. It helps your process everything that’s happened and calm down before tucking in for the night.

As a rule of thumb, one hour is generally how long you’d need to give yourself time to relax before calling it a night. But if you don’t have a full hour to spare, then just pick two of your favourite things to do to relax and switch-off—such as drinking some herbal tea, lighting a Diptyque candle, sitting or meditating. It makes a world of a difference.

Related article: The 16 Scented Candles You Need Right Now

3. Chat Your Thoughts Away

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Are you a self-professed worry wort? Well, then a really good way to stop overthinking at night from ruining your sleep is to chat things through with a partner, family member, friend or even your furry little companion.

Have a genuine heart to heart, connected and meaningful conversation—not “what I did today” but actual things that matter.

If we don’t make time to appreciate what we’re working so hard for, we become resentful and negative. That mindful connection stimulates oxytocin release, which could improve your sleep.

Related article: 6 Of The Best Meditation And Uplifting Apps To Practice Mindfulness

4. Don’t Try And Force Sleep

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Not being able to fall asleep when we want can be anxiety-inducing, distressing and can become a vicious cycle. So, instead of forcing yourself to sleep the next time you feel in desperate need of some shut eye, try getting up and performing a quiet activity—reading a book, listening to calm music, etc. But nothing too stimulating.

Related article: Calm Collective Asia: Normalising Mental Health In Asia, One Click At A Time

5. Cut Out Caffeine

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Yes, your iced triple caff venti vanilla latte from Starbucks is what’s keeping you up at night. Too much caffeine—whether it’s from coffee, tea or energy drinks—can increase levels of anxiety, agitation and restlessness, and have a real impact on sleep; leaving you both wired and tired.

Limit you caffeine intake to the afternoon, as it can stay in your bloodstream for up to six hours. So you might want to think twice the next time you reach for your Nespresso machine in the evening.

The trick is, rather than going cold turkey, decrease your coffee or tea intake gradually. Instead of having a latte in the afternoon, maybe switch it out with a decaf brew, or switch from full-strength teas to herbal varieties. 

Read all of EIC Kenneth Goh’s recommendations here.