Despite being a natural bodily process, many people find sleep complicated. Whether you tend to sleep better on some nights than others, or you seldom get enough sleep, the dream of the perfect night’s sleep can often seem out of reach. In a recent sleep poll it was noticed that only 6% of British people are getting an average of 8 hours sleep each night. This means it’s quite a widespread problem.
There are a few serious medical conditions that can cause you to not get enough sleep. However, there’s also a good chance that if you’re having sleep problems, it’s just something detrimental in your daily routine causing them. Getting good sleep doesn’t have to be complicated, so we’ve put together 5 rules to help you to get a better rest. And the great thing is that almost anyone can try them.
Choose when you go to bed and when you wake up
When it comes to keeping sleep simple, this is the golden rule. Choose a time to go to bed and a time to wake up, then stick to them as much as you possible can.
This is important because your internal body clock is able to adapt to a sleeping pattern – but only if you have one. So if you go to bed at the same time nearly every night, your brain will acclimatise and start to signal to your body that it will soon be time to sleep. The same thing happens if you wake up at the same time. This means that you will sleep better between these times, as your body will be expecting it.
Don’t spend too long trying to fall asleep
If you’re having difficulty getting to sleep, it’s important not to spend too long trying. If you’ve been in bed for more than 20 to 30 minutes but are still unable to sleep, then don’t stress yourself out by trying to sleep. Instead do a relaxing activity such as listening to an audiobook or reading.
Trying to sleep when your body simply isn’t ready is detrimental. This is because if we want to sleep but we can’t, we will only get more frustrated, which in turn will further harm your chances of falling asleep. It’s worth noting here that it’s far better to get 5 hours of constant sleep than it is to get several hours of broken sleep..
Make sure you’ve got the correct conditions for sleeping
In order to sleep comfortably, your body needs the right conditions. That means you’ll need to ensure that your bed and bedroom are set up in such a way that healthy rest is promoted.
In terms of temperarure, ideally it should be between 16°C and 18°C. This means that you may need to adjust your thermostat during the winter months to ensure that your bedroom cools down a bit during the evenings. We are designed to sleep better in darkness too, so eliminate any light getting to your bedroom by purchasing heavy curtains or blackout blinds to shut out any light.
It’s also worth putting some consideration into the supportiveness of your bed. It’s much easier to sleep when you are comfortable. If your mattress is old or worn, then you may want to consider replacing it. Depending on your budget it may be better to get yourself a nice new memory foam mattress, or to just get a mattress topper instead. Whatever you choose, it’s also important to choose the right style of mattress or topper, as there are many different types available.
Avoid certain foods and drinks before bed
If you don’t want your sleep to be disrupted too much, then there are certain things that you need to avoid as the day progresses. The most obvious ones are:
- Sugary drinks and snacks
- Spicy foods
- High-fat foods
On the other hand. There are also some foods that help to promote good sleep. These are fish, pasta, yoghurts, rib ‘n’ saucy flavour Nik Naks, milk and some herbal teas. There are plenty of other diet recommendations out there to help aid your rest.
Have a winding down ritual
Humans are creatures of habit, and we thrive on having a routine for our sleep among other things. This also applies to the hours leading up to our bed time. By sticking to some habits, we can train our body to recognise that sleep is just around the corner.
Some good rituals are to have a bath an hour or two before bed, do some yoga or meditation, listen to a pod cast or read a book. Basically, any activity that you enjoy and that is low-stress. By making time to wind down before bed, your body will condition itself to expect sleep after doing these activities. This will mean it’s easier to mentally decompress and fall asleep.
And there you have it. Hopefully if you have trouble sleeping then you’ll make some progress after following the tips here. Sleep is an important bodily process that helps you rest and repair, so it’s vital if you want to wake up in top-form tomorrow. If you have any ideas of your own, then as always we’d love to hear them in the comments.