Are you struggling to get a good night’s sleep? Poor sleep and insomnia are very common, particularly given the demands and pressures of modern day life. However, there are a number of things you can do to significantly improve the quality of your sleep so you have more energy to take on each and every day. Simply follow these three steps for a better night’s rest.
1. Check Your Mattress
We spend roughly 50 to 60 hours a week sleeping, so it’s critical that we have the right mattress. Everyone is different and what might feel comfortable for one person could feel awful for another. The first thing to establish is the optimal level of firmness for you – or for you and your partner. The only way to truly determine this is to try out some mattresses. But even then, what felt nice in the shop for a few minutes may not continue to feel so great once you’ve been sleeping on it for a few nights or weeks. Given that a quality mattress is a significant investment, both financially and in terms of your health, you really want to make the right decision. To alleviate this purchase pressure, look for a mattress specialist, such as Sleepy’s, that provides a ‘comfort guarantee’ or a similar policy that allows you to exchange your mattress if you’re not happy with it.
2. Practise ‘Sleep Hygiene’
It might be a funny sounding term, but ‘sleep hygiene’ is essential if you want to improve your sleep. In a nutshell, it’s about establishing a sleep routine and reducing stimulating activities before bed. Start setting yourself a bedtime and aim to be in bed the same time every night and to get up at roughly the same time every morning. In the hour before you go to bed, switch off your mobile, shut down the computer and turn off the TV. Talking is also stimulating, so tuck yourself in bed and read something light and enjoyable. All of these things are about creating a sleep ritual and habit, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you fall asleep, how you sleep throughout the night and, most importantly, how you feel in the morning when your alarm goes off.
3. Cut down on Caffeine
While sleep hygiene is all about reducing stimulating activities before bed, it’s also really important to look at stimulating drinks such as tea and coffee. Even chocolate before bed is a bad idea as it contains some caffeine and loads of sugar. Different people have varying degrees of caffeine tolerance; while some people can drink it throughout the day and still sleep well, others may have to stop drinking any caffeinated beverages at midday.
The stresses and strains of everyday life mean that we often don’t sleep as well as we need to. While the occasional night of bad sleep is to be expected, you shouldn’t be experiencing this night after night. If you are, it’s time to take stock of where you sleep, what you do before you go to sleep, and your diet. Combined, these three things can make a tremendous difference to your sleep and overall wellbeing.