Sleep: we all do it, but nearly half of us don’t do it well.
With those kinds of figures, it’s no surprise that many of you have made the decision to sleep better in 2013!
To make this your most well-rested year follow our top tips for getting a better night’s sleep.
• Keep regular hours. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time, all the time – your body will love you for it!
• Create a restful sleeping environment. Your bedroom should be kept for rest and sleep and it should be neither too hot, nor too cold; and as quiet and dark as possible.
• Make sure your bed is comfortable. It’s difficult to get deep, restful sleep on one that’s too soft, too hard, too small or too old.
• Turn off electronics at least 20 minutes before bedtime. Bedrooms should be a sanctuary for sleeping. Anything entertaining or work related such as TVs, computers and tablets, games consoles and mobile phones should be turned off or even better, banned from the room as the blue light from them inhibits the night-time secretion of melatonin, playing havoc with your body’s circadian rhythms.
• Try to relax before going to bed. Have a warm bath, listen to some quiet music, do some yoga – all help to relax both the mind and body. Your doctor may be able to recommend a helpful relaxation tape, too.
• Deal with worries or a heavy workload by making lists of things to be tackled the next day.
• Take more exercise. Regular, moderate exercise such as swimming or walking can help relieve the day’s stresses and strains. But not too close too bedtime or it may keep you awake!
• Cut down on stimulants such as caffeine in tea or coffee – especially in the evening. They interfere with falling asleep and prevent deep sleep. Have a hot milky drink or herbal tea instead.
• Don’t over-indulge. Too much food or alcohol, especially late at night, just before bedtime, can play havoc with sleep patterns. Alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, but will interrupt your sleep later on in the night.
• Don’t smoke. Yes, it’s bad for sleep, too: smokers take longer to fall asleep, wake more often and often experience more sleep disruption.
• If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again – then go back to bed.
Is getting better quality sleep important for you this year?