Few things are more restorative for the body and mind than a good night’s sleep. But getting the recommended 7-9 hours of shut eye can be challenging as we struggle to wind down from our hectic lifestyles and face being interrupted by anything from our partner snoring to the ping of an email alert on our smartphones.
Sleep shades: This is the WORST colour to paint a bedroom if you want a good night’s sleep
Luckily Neil Robinson, Chief Sleep Officer at Sealy UK – the world’s biggest bed manufacturer – is on hand, offering up some top tips to help get our sleeping habits back on track for 2019.
And the good news is, is that they’re surprisingly easy to follow. Below are some of the best…
1. Create a calm and clutter-free bedroom
Distractions are the last thing we need when trying to get 40 winks, which is why decluttering your bedroom is essential. Being faced with a mounting pile of clothing and other items you’ve yet to organise – or struggled find a home for – could be contributing to exactly the kind of stress which keeps the mind whirring at night.
Creating a more streamlined bedroom environment that’s more conducive to sleep can start with simple steps. This can range from anything from investing in some low-cost storage baskets to having a good old rummage in your wardrobe and donating any clothing you haven’t used in a year or more to charity.
2. Keep a sleep diary
Using a sleep diary for around a month could help to identify what factors could be impacting on your sleep. The kind of things you can make a note of include the following:
- Food you’ve eaten
- Daily activity levels
- Amount of screen time
- Times you wake up during the night
If you make a link between one of the above and your broken sleep, you can then begin to take measures to address it.
3. Re-set your sleep routine
Following the same sleep routines during both the weekdays and weekends will help to keep your sleep habits on an even keel. Sleeping in on the weekend or going to bed much later than usual during the week can throw off our body’s circadian rhythm – the internal ‘clock’ which controls our energy levels.
4. Stock up on magnesium-rich foods
Magnesium lowers levels of the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol. Snacking on magnesium-rich foods, such as almonds, avocados and bananas throughout the day could help you relax and head off to the land of nod that much easier.
5. Limit your light intake
Melatonin, the hormone responsible for controlling our body clock, is produced at night and light from sources such as TV and mobile screens could interrupt this process.
Switching off your devices – which can emit the ‘blue light’ shown in some studies to suppress the production of melatonin – at least 30 minutes before bed as well as dimming bedroom lights could help to counteract this.