Secrets for great sleep
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Wake up feeling tired despite getting eight hours kip, or drained during the day even though you had an early night? Despite all our best intentions, some of the things we wouldn’t even give a second thought to can make or break a good night’s rest. Take a look at our 10 quick-fire facts and tips below and use them to your advantage for your future slumber sessions.
- Avoid weekend lie-ins. As tempting as snoozing in bed until 11am on a Sunday morning can be, they could actually not be doing you any favours. Your body can’t ‘store’ sleep, so if you’re trying to make up for a late night in the week, unfortunately it won’t benefit. Plus, it only serves to confuse your body clock and disrupt sleep patterns further, meaning your 6.30am weekday alarm will be even more torturous.
- Set aside half an hour in the evening. Spend this time dealing with your worries and to-do list. Write them down in a journal or on a piece of paper, then set them aside before bed to ensure they’re not going round in your head and preventing you from nodding off.
- Cut out noise. Live next to a busy road, have a partner who just can’t quit snoring or even just an annoyingly loud ticking clock? All of these can affect your sleep, so banish these sounds and sleep in peace by wearing earplugs.
- Buy the biggest bed you can afford. Whether you’re single or sleep alongside your partner, the more space, the better. This will allow your body to move about without getting smacked by flailing arms or fear of falling out of the bed. And don’t forget to replace your mattress every 8-10 years to avoid old springs causing backaches and pains, and also for hygiene reasons – there’s a lot of dust mites and dead skin gathering in there that you can’t even see.
- Avoid afternoon naps. Experiencing a natural dip in energy mid-afternoon is perfectly normal, so fight through the urge to lie down! Clocking in an hour or two during the day can effect your sleep come nighttime.
- Keep your bedroom cool. Research has shown that a room temperature of around 18ºC is conducive to restful sleep, while temperatures about 24ºC are more likely to cause restlessness.
- Have a warm bath before bed. Studies show that a drop in body temperature triggers the brain’s sleep response. However, a bath will artificially raise it, so when you cool down again, it’ll help you feel sleepy and definitely ready for your PJs.
- Manage light and darkness. These can have a big effect on your ability to doze off; one of the best examples is when people find their sleep routine is disrupted when the clocks go back. Try wearing an eye mask when you go to bed in the summer, and expose yourself to bright light as soon as you wake up in winter to get going.
- Avoid stimulating activities before bed. This doesn’t just include looking at your phone or tablet, but also watching news programmes or reading the latest whodunnit that’ll get your mind whirring.
- Check your mattress is offering optimum support. One that is not supportive enough can lead to aches which keep you awake at night (and in pain during the day). Lie down and put your hand underneath the small of your back: if you have trouble getting your hand underneath, it’s too soft.