A good night’s rest is essential to a healthy existence, protecting you physically and mentally as well as boosting your quality of life. Unfortunately, many of us struggle to fall asleep, have bad dreams, can’t wake up in the morning and then feel constantly tired.
Sleep plays a significant role in healing and repairing your heart and blood vessels. It helps us maintain a healthy weight and a good balance of hormones, as well as controlling sugar levels. In terms of mental health, a great night’s sleep makes the brain work properly, as well as safeguarding against stress, mood swings and depression. It’s rather worrying that the majority of people don’t sleep very well.
- The Room
• When it’s time for bed, make your room completely dark. This can be achieved with a blackout blind or curtains, an additional window dressing, or even an eye mask.
• Maintain an ambient temperature in your room. If you’re too hot or too cold, you won’t sleep soundly. We recommend a cool temperature of around 16-18° C.
• A tidy room makes for a tidy mind… and a restful night’s sleep! De-clutter your bedroom and create a space that’s clean, neat and simple.
• Say no to technology in the bedroom! That means avoiding televisions and computers. Having access to these will urge you to switch on when you can’t drift off, which in turn can lead to even more disturbed sleep.
• LED displays are particularly troublesome when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.
• Avoid treating your bedroom like an extension of the rest of your house. That means you shouldn’t use it for work, watching TV, eating, and even talking on the phone. Save the bedroom for sleep and sex.
- The Bed
• The basis of a great night’s sleep is a comfortable bed. The right mattress can make a huge difference between a restful and restless night, saving you from fatigue and irritability for the rest of the day. An unsupportive mattress will encourage a poor sleeping posture, which prevents you from a good sleep. If you regularly wake up with aches and pains, it’s probably time to change your mattress.
• Always put quality above price. Of course, there are some perfectly acceptable low-priced mattresses available, but when it comes to your bed, spend as much as you can afford.
• The right support is crucial. If your bed is too hard or soft, it will be uncomfortable and unsupportive. Your mattress should be firm enough to support your spine in the correct alignment while conforming to your body’s contours.
• Avoid waiting until your bed has ‘worn out’ completely. Research shows that sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress can rob you of up to one hour’s sleep per night, which adds up to a full night’s sleep over the course of a week! You should consider changing your bed after seven years.
• The 21st-century lifestyle is typically fast-paced, chaotic and jam-packed with technology. From the moment we wake up we switch on our brains with smartphones, and as our day progresses, we’re presented with even more triggers. The continuous content that’s fed from computers, TV and radio, social media and our constant checking of emails all make for a non-stop stimulation. It’s no wonder that many of us can’t switch off or fall asleep, then struggle to wake up in the morning and spend a lot of time complaining “I can’t sleep!” We all need to adjust your lifestyle to promote a better night’s sleep.
• Reduce the intensity of artificial light in your home by using dimmer switches or low wattage bulbs.
• Maintain a regular bedtime routine and sleep pattern.
• Use a hot water bottle if you get cold.
• Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine before bed.
• Switch off your tech a couple of hours before bedtime – that includes your phone!
- Stress or Worry
• Scientists have found a direct correlation between anxiety and rhythm of sleep. When a person is anxious, their heart rate increases, which causes the brain to ‘race’, too. An alert mind makes you far too stimulated to sleep.
• Try having a relaxing bath before bed.
• They say you are what you eat, and when it comes to getting a restful night’s sleep, the food and drink you consume has a drastic effect. The best foods for sleep include milk, cherries, chicken and rice, while fatty meat, curry and alcohol are some of the worst. Some people choose not to eat after 6pm, as late meals can make it difficult to sleep. However, if you are eating before bed, remember that there three main chemicals that promote good sleep: tryptophan, serotonin and melatonin.
Sports and exercise can help you to enjoy a better quality of sleep. Working out effectively can tire your body out gently, promoting a better night’s sleep. Releasing pent-up tension through exercise is also highly beneficial, helping to banish stress before bedtime. Exercising also lowers your body’s temperature, which induces better sleep.