We’re all guilty of making mistakes when it comes to getting that elusive night’s kip.
But with a third of us getting by on less than six hours of sleep a night, it’s time to address the top five bad habits that contribute to lack of zzz’s and how you can avoid them…
1. Screen time before bed– and that includes the TV: The blue light that emits from the electronic devices plays havoc on the body’s internal clock and suppresses the production of melatonin – the sleep inducing hormone.
Solution: Turn off gadgets at least 30 minutes before bed, and if possible,ban them from the bedroom!
2. Drinking alcohol to relax and aid sleep: While it initially relaxes you and helps you to nod, it decreases the amount of time you spend in REM sleep (deep, restorative sleep). Plus you will find you wake in the night dehydrated and needing the loo.
Solution: Even just a couple of drinks can interfere with the normal sleep process, so abstain where possible if you struggle with your sleep.
3. An irregular sleep pattern: Key to achieving a good night’s sleep is having a regular sleep schedule as we thrive on routine. Regular activities prepare our various body systems and anticipate events.
Solution: Try to go to bed, and get up, at the same time every day as it programmes the body and mind to sleep better.
4. Consuming caffeine too close to bedtime: Caffeine is a stimulant and its effect on sleep is well known.
Solution: Try and avoid it 4-5 hours before bedtime; have a hot milky drink or a herbal tea instead.
5. Sleeping on an uncomfortable bed: The surface we sleep on plays a key factor in getting a good night’s kip. It’s difficult to get deep, restful sleep on an old, uncomfortable bed.
Solution: Choose a bed with the correct support, comfort and space will ensure you wake less, move about less, are less disturbed by your partner and are less likely to wake up feeling tired or aching.