Most of us tend to take sleep for granted, until we get a bad night. The after-effects of that make us really appreciate the importance of sleep. If those bad nights are becoming frequent, it may be time to take a look at your ‘sleep hygiene’ habits. Here’s a magnificent seven of ideas for better sleep.
Bedtime routines are not just for babies. Adults also need to give themselves cues that it is time for some shuteye.
While a weekend lie-in is tempting, don’t overdo it as you will probably find it harder to get up for work on Monday.
A head full of worries is a classic recipe for insomnia and a groggy morning after. Problems always seem much worse in the night.
You can’t solve problems with sleep, but you also can’t deal with many of them at 4am. So find a strategy to ‘unload your head’ until morning. Before bedtime, write down tomorrow’s ‘to do’ list so you aren’t fretting about forgetting.
…or so it should be. Most of us need dark bedrooms to sleep, but with current fashions for sheer curtains and no pelmets, the light from streetlamps or early sunrises can easily get in. Consider blackout linings and make sure your curtains don’t have ‘light leaks’.
During summer, many of us will be switching from the winter duvet and opening the windows. Winter cold is easily solved with extra blankets, but muggy summer nights can be trickier. Try these ideas for getting a good sleep on a summer night.
The blue light from phones or laptops is thought to act on the brain to prevent sleep. So make the bedroom a no-screen zone, and replace gadgets and TV with books 30 minutes before bedtime. Treat yourself to an old-fashioned alarm clock and leave the phone downstairs where it belongs.
Most of us need peace and quiet to sleep, but some actually find it impossible to sleep in silence. A small level of background noise can help. The usual solution is a fan, but you can also get pillows with small built-in speakers. All you have to do is choose a suitable soundtrack to help you drift off.
Last but not least; don’t let inner turmoil disturb you. You don’t have to eat supper at 6pm, but try to leave enough time after your evening meal so you are not going to bed on a full stomach. Stop the caffeine after mid-afternoon and also go easy on late-night alcohol.
Remember that sleep really matters for fitness and health. Don’t cut corners on sleep!
by Kath Webb
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