Bed in the premier suite at Mandarin Oriental, Paris

Six simple ways to improve your sleep

A sound night’s sleep is crucial for our health, wellbeing and happiness. But sometimes we all need help switching off at night. We asked yoga teacher and sleep expert Natasha Kerry for her six essential tips, which exlpore ways to relax, still your mind and get a restorative night’s rest

Breakfast on a table at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

Find your rhythm

The actions you take throughout the entire day have an effect on your sleep at night and getting up at a consistent time is as important as a regular bedtime. Your body will fall into a rhythm, waking you up without an alarm and making you feel sleepy around bedtime. The good news? Getting up a little later shouldn’t have too much of an effect. In fact, up to two hours’ extra sleep at the weekend can be very nourishing.

Girl looks at mobile phone on a bed at nighttime

Tweak your tech

Our devices emit blue light, which disrupts melatonin production, signalling that your brain should stay awake. From early evening onwards, use apps and filters to reduce the blue light emissions from your phone and computer, such as iPhone’s Night Shift setting. It’s also important to switch off from tech before you go to sleep. Set an alarm an hour before bed, then start turning off all your devices, putting your phone on Airplane mode if you’re listening to a sleep meditation.  

A woman relaxes in a large tub at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong with view of city

Cool down

Your body likes to be cool at night because that’s naturally what happens when the sun goes down. People often think that a bath helps you fall asleep as it makes you warmer, but the opposite is true: when you get out of the bath, your body temperature rapidly drops, and that’s what helps you drift off more easily.

Woman practises meditation outdoors

Tune into your body

Focus on physical sensations, rather than thoughts, to stop your mind racing. Try listening to a guided sleep meditation, or simply bring your attention to your body – imagine it sinking downwards, becoming heavier. Yoga poses can also help, such as lying down with your legs propped up against a wall. That’s my go-to pose if I’m struggling to fall asleep, as it lowers the heart rate, calms the breathing and reduces any inflammation in the body. Many Mandarin Oriental hotels are offering a calendar of live streamed online wellness classes, including yoga and meditation to help you sleep better. Visit MO’s social media channels for times and schedules.

Bananas in a tray

Try a midnight snack

Don’t go to bed hungry! If you eat early – before 7pm – it’s common for your body to run out of fuel by 3am and then produce cortisol which will wake you up. To sleep through until the morning, make sure you have enough fuel; eat a proper meal, which should include carbohydrates, a few hours before bed. Alternatively, bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium, both of which act as muscle relaxants, so are a great snack to eat just before bed, or if you wake up hungry in the early hours.

Essential oils in bottles on a table

Find your perfect blend

Essential oils can help you to relax and unwind, though use a carrier oil if you’re applying them directly to the skin. Coconut oil is good, as it’s a cooling rather than a warming oil. Otherwise, use a few drops of essential oils on your pillow. Lavender is the classic choice, but it’s not the only option. Clary sage is good for anxiety and promoting sleep, and marjoram’s very soothing; try a blend of the two, for deep, restorative sleep.

Interview by Elizabeth Winding

Aerial view of a pine forest

A mental fitness work-out

Discover how to reduce anxiety, top-up your mental wellbeing and forge healthy relationships