Sleep is such a simple, automatic function that many of us take for granted, that is, until it goes wrong! Whether you thrive on 5 hours or need a full 8 hours of it, sleep helps us to function effectively throughout the day, but many of us are struggling to get enough of it. In this article, we share some easy tips to help you get a better night's sleep.
There's no denying that our own individual bodyclocks have a big impact on how we sleep, and other factors like lifestyle, exercise, stress and external influences like how quiet the area that we live in is, can all impact sleep.
For those who have recently moved home, the unfamiliar new surroundings and sleeping in a new bedroom can feel strange. This can have a negative impact on sleep, particularly if you're stressed out and still tripping over unpacked moving boxes!
There is a wealth of research into sleep and, recent research has found that not only can how you sleep affect things like your mood and productivity, but your circadian rhythm can also have an impact on weight, with those of us who are sleep deprived, often make poorer nutritional choices, and of course, when you're tired, you're also less inclined to get up early to hit the gym, and by the end of the working day, forget about it!
So if sleep isn't your best friend right now, how can you turn things around and get that all-important shut-eye?
Sleep Better With These 6 Tips
1. Ditch the caffeine
It sounds obvious, as caffeine is a powerful stimulant, but it's easy to forget that things like cups of tea and even chocolate contain caffeine.
So if you're having trouble dropping off, it could be that you're over stimulated, so caffeine is the first culprit to look at. Even if you don't think you're sensitive to caffeine, eliminating it from your diet for a couple of weeks will let you know for sure.
If you absolutely can't live without it, then make sure that you keep cups of coffee or carbonated drinks containing caffeine to a minimum in the afternoon and avoid entirely from late afternoon onwards.
2. Create a healthy bedtime routine
We've all heard that it's a good idea to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, but really, by the time it gets to Friday night, who isn't desperate to kick back and make the most by staying up late and having a rare lie-in over the weekend in a desperate bid to catch up on lost sleep?
Creating a bedroom routine however doesn't begin and end with your bedtime and the time you set your alarm for, it's more about getting into good habits that will help your body know that it's time to start winding down, helping your body promote the sleepy nighttime hormone, melatonin.
Even if you can't stick to the same bed time and wake up time, you can get into good habits in the hour or so before going to bed.
3. Make your bedroom sleep-friendly
It is often stated that your bed should be used for sleeping (and of course another form of nocturnal, erm, 'activity'), but definitely not for watching TV, eating, browsing the internet or anything too stimulating so that your brain learns to associate being in bed with restful sleep.
Sleep scientists call this sleep hygiene, and creating a new pattern is easy to do as our brains are surprisingly adaptable. So it's time to ditch those activities that might be keeping you up at night and getting into the habit of putting down your phone, turning off the TV (blue light from screens only serves to keep you awake) and generally chilling and winding down, in good time before you attempt to try to get to sleep.
4. Monitor bedroom temperature
The perfect temperature for a bedroom is actually 16-18°C which is slightly lower than the usual preferred room temperature. That's because a slightly cooler temperature is said to make it easier to drop off.
Ever found how difficult it can be to drop off in the middle of a heatwave when you're feeling too hot? Even in cooler weather, it could be an idea to open your bedroom window to reduce the ambient temperature in your bedroom and improve airflow.
5. Check stress at the bedroom door
If you've got things on your mind, it can be easy to ruminate on them as you try to fall asleep. We all have things to remember and a mental to-do list, and if there's anything bothering you, it can easily buzz around in your head.
Keep a note pad beside your bed, or make a to-do note on your phone before getting into bed. This can help you remove things in your head that may be bothering you, even subconsciously.
6. Assess the comfort of your bed
Do you shift around a lot in bed before you find a comfortable position? Perhaps you wake up feeling stiff? Whilst age and some health conditions can cause greater discomfort, in general, as soon as you lie down you should feel comfortable!
A good mattress will last you for about 10 years, so if your mattress was a cheap one, feels lumpy or bumpy, is approaching 10 years old or is more than 10 years old, it could be time to consider investing in a new mattress. And don't forget the Divan Bed Furnisher sleep experts are here to help!
According to the the sleep foundation, most healthy adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. No matter how much sleep you need personally though, one thing is for sure, getting enough sleep, and improving the quality of your sleep is important, and you can take active steps towards better sleep right now.