Achieving a good night’s sleep is a problem for an awful lot of people, so to mark National Bed Month this March here are our top six ways to help you drift off into the land of nod.
1. Invest in your sleep with a comfortable, supportive bed. Yes it might be National Bed Month, and yes the focus is on beds, but what you sleep on plays a huge part in how well you doze. A bed with the correct support, comfort and space will ensure you wake less, move about less, aren’t disturbed by your partner as much and are less likely to wake up feeling tired or aching. Remember, if you’re not comfortable in bed your sleep won’t be as deep.
2. Avoid clock watching. Instead of staring at the clock and stressing over how many lost hours of sleep you’ve had, hide the bedside clock or cover it with something. Checking the time only increases stress.
3. Don’t focus on how much sleep you’re getting. There’s no ideal quota and one size doesn’t fit all! Instead look at how you feel the next day. Too many people focus on sleep quantity but what’s important is that the sleep you do get is of good quality so make sure you regularly assess that and your comfort levels.
4. Write a to-do list before bed. Worry and anxiety are a key player in what keeps us awake at night. Often, we get into bed with our mind racing or buzzing with the things that are troubling us or what we need to get done. Keep a notepad and pen by your bed and write down worries or jobs that need to be tackled. It really does help to clear the mind for sleep.
5. Watch your diet. Avoid over-eating before bedtime and choose foods with sleep-promoting chemicals such as chicken and turkey, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, peanuts, beans and milk. Equally, limit stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine which reduce sleep quality and prevent you feeling rested.
6. Establish a bedtime routine. Our bodies thrive on routine so establish and prioritise a bedtime routine and, where possible, stick to it. This could be something as simple as putting PJs on, washing your face and brushing your teeth. A bed time routine signals the brain that it’s time for sleep.
Like proper nutrition and exercise, sleep fulfils a vital role in keeping us healthy and happy. We need a good night’s sleep to ensure we’re feeling fit, thinking sharply and generally to give us the appetite and enthusiasm to make the most of everyday living.