With the crazy lifestyles of today it’s easy to forget to how important our sleep is. A good night’s sleep will improve your memory, boost your concentration, increase your energy levels throughout the day and even make you look better (supermodels swear by a good night’s sleep).
Difficulty falling asleep and securing an appropriate sleeping pattern is becoming increasingly familiar, so let us help you drift off to the land of nod and get the best out of your sleep:
1. Avoid those guilty pleasures e.g. caffeine, nicotine and alcohol
A cup of tea or coffee in the morning is fabulous, but there’s a reason we drink it in the morning. To wake us up. Remember, caffeine is a stimulant so avoid it 4 to 6 hours before bed time.
Ever wondered why you feel so sleepy when you’re hungover? Some people snooze after booze but it is also a stimulant after a few hours and generally decreases the quality of sleep quite significantly. Again, avoid drinking within 3 hours of going to bed and limit yourself to 1 or 2 drinks a day.
Your bedroom needs to be sleep appropriate: get some heavy curtains to block out the light, keep your room cool and most importantly, quiet! Invest in some ear plugs if you’re a city centre dweller and consider keeping pets out of your room.
Also, there’s a reason it’s called a ‘bed’room and not a ‘living’ room. Use your bed for sleep and sex only. Try not to get used to watching telly in bed and definitely don’t work in bed! Your mind needs to associate your bedroom with ‘switch off’ time to get the very best kip.
3. Get into a bed time routine
For an hour or so before you hit the hay, establish a relaxing ritual: take a bath (the rise and fall in body temperature promotes drowsiness – why do you think everyone falls asleep in our spa?), read a book, watch TV or practice some relaxation exercises.
If you do anything strenuous or stressful, your mind won’t wind down effectively, making sleep impossible. If you’re the sort of person that lies awake worrying, write them all down in a journal before crawling into bed.
4. Can’t sleep? Don’t watch the clock and keep the lights down
The worst thing you can do when you can’t drift off is watch the clock. We’ve all been there: “if I go to sleep now I’ll get 4 hours…”. This sort of behaviour will only stress you out. Get up and do something restful – reading usually helps – and keep the lights dim so as not to stimulate your internal clock.
Chowing on some Toad in the Hole at 10.30pm will probably be a recipe for sleep disaster. Make sure you dine in the early evening and definitely avoid anything that might give you indigestion.
6. Disco nap early or not at all
Napping is generally not supported as helpful to your sleep cycle. In fact, it will usually throw you totally out of whack. If you have to nap, make sure it’s earlier in the day and limit it to a swift half an hour. It’ll give you the boost you need without affecting your proper sleep that night.
7. Stick to your sleep schedule
Although not always realistic, going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time in the mornings (yes, even at weekends) really promotes the best possible sleep. Your body will get into a rhythm and ‘sleep clock’ that you can then rely on to deliver you with the best possible Z’s a person can get.
It also gets rid of the Monday morning sleep hangover…
We hope that helps win you some super duper sleeps. Stay relaxed and smiling!