The best evening routine to help you get a good night's sleep during lockdown

With New Zealand enduring the COVID-19 alert level 4 lockdown and all of us confined to our homes for the foreseeable future, you'd think we'd be getting more rest than ever. 

But instead many Kiwis are tossing and turning when it's time to go to bed. A mixture of anxiety, cabin-fever and an unsettling break from routine are all not very conducive to getting a full eight hours. 

UK sleep experts Each Night conducted some research into the topic and popped together some top tips to ensure your sleep environment and sleep routine will give you the best nights rest possible. 

"For those struggling to sleep, this evening routine plan could greatly improve the quantity and quality of sleep you receive," says sleep researcher Jasmin Lee.

The perfect evening routine for better rest: 

best routine for better sleep
Photo credit: Each Night.

5pm: Enjoy some exercise

After you've finished work for the day, you probably just want to flop on the couch. But by getting out on your daily Government-sanctioned walk, bike ride or even partaking in a light stretching session in your lounge, your body will be better prepared to relax and sleep later in the evening. Just don't leave your exercise too late - getting your heart rate up too much just before bed will have you in a state of fight or flight. 

6pm: Eat a light meal and ditch caffeine 

Eating dinner a little earlier in the evening gives leaves plenty of time to digest before you hit the hay. This allows your body to enter in a much deeper state of relaxation than if you're busy trying to work through a massive meal of spaghetti bolognese. And skip the post-dinner coffee, especially if you're sensitive to caffeine. 

7pm: Cool down the bedroom

Getting the right temperature is a key element to getting the perfect night's sleep - that's why many of us struggle during a hot Auckland summer. Over a third of people surveyed by Each Night (32 percent) said they sleep better in a cool bedroom between 16C-18C, so pop a fan on or open the window in the bedroom. Another great option is to take a hot bath or shower a couple of hours before going to bed, so your body temperature naturally drops for sleep. 

9pm: Put your phone away. 

Take some time for yourself by putting your phone down, especially if you're relentlessly reading news about the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking a digital detox before bed can help you to de-stress and clear your mind of any negative or stressful thoughts. And use this lockdown as an opportunity to take up reading again - reading a book before bed is a great way to switch off sans-screen. 

10pm: Make your room as dark as possible

Any ambient lighting, whether from a clock, phone or hallway light, can interfere with your sleep quality. Invest in some blackout blinds if you have a lot of city light coming into your bedroom, otherwise get all other light sources out of the room.

Then aim to snooze off between 10:00 pm and 11:30 pm. Almost a third off survey respondents who regularly get seven or more hours of sleep said they go to bed between these hours.