A good night’s sleep is important, but it’s not always as easy as laying down and quickly drifting off into a deep, restful sleep. In fact, many of us Brits don’t wake up feeling rested. This was reflected in the world’s largest ever online sleep study which showed 77% of people in the UK fail to wake up feeling refreshed.
I have always been a night owl and although this has drastically improved over the last two years with me now going to bed between 11pm and midnight rather than 2am, it’s still quite late. I’m trying to improve my sleep pattern and make sure I’m getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep.
If you are struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep or feel rested when you wake up there are a few things you can try to help improve your sleep. I have been using some of the tips below to help me get a good night’s sleep and so far I have found a few of the tips are really helping.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
This is important because if you are consistent it will help your body get used to a sleep cycle and will regulate your inner body clock. It’s important to do this even on holiday, day’s off and the weekend.
Create a relaxing bedtime routine
If you create a relaxing bedtime routine your body will know it’s time to wind down and get ready to sleep. Try to unwind for around 30 minutes before you want to go to sleep. You could enjoy a relaxing warm bath, listen to some calming music or read your favourite book.
Invest in a good mattress
Having an uncomfortable mattress can lead to an uncomfortable night’s sleep. There’s a really good choice of mattresses available now with the most common types being memory foam mattresses, pocket sprung and coil sprung. Mattresses also come with different firmnesses so if you can try the mattresses in store before you buy this will ensure it’s going to be comfortable. It’s recommended to replace your mattress every 8 years, so if you’re having a bad night’s sleep and your mattress is older than this it might be worth considering a new one.
Reduce unwanted noise
If you find yourself waking up at the same time regularly it might be that there’s something waking you up and it’s worth trying to find out if that’s the case. Try to minimise any noise disturbances during the night by keeping pets in separate rooms, turning off any electronic devices that make a noise and if that doesn’t help you could try earplugs.
As tempting as it is to have a quick nap during the day, this will throw off your bedtime routine and make things worse in the long run. If you’re used to napping try doing something to keep busy during this time instead.
You might not like it, but regular exercise can help you fall asleep quicker and enjoy a better quality of sleep. You don’t have to spend hours at the gym, a brisk walk each day or half an hour working out will help.
Watch what you eat and drink before bed
What you eat and drink before you go to bed and even a few hours before can have an impact on your quality of sleep. Try to avoid things containing caffeine (including chocolate), sugary foods and spicy foods prior to going to bed because they can stimulate your nervous system and lead to a bad night’s sleep.
Keep a pen and notebook beside your bed
If you find you can’t fall asleep easily because your mind is racing with everything you have to do tomorrow or things you’re worrying about, try writing down a to-do list or the things that are worrying you. Keep a notebook and pen by your bed so it’s handy when your mind is racing. The act of writing down a list can help you relax and in turn let you have a good night’s sleep.
If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, take some comfort in the fact you’re not alone. Just take a look at the sleep infographic below, it contains a lot of really interesting facts and statistics about the UK’s sleeping habits.