When you get your eight hours a night you feel like you can rule the world. A great night’s sleep can improve your health, mood, thinking, memory and immunity. But, according to the UK Sleep Council and the National Sleep Foundation, the average UK person is under-sleeping by at least one hour a night. Almost half of us say stress or worry keeps us awake at night and a third of adults in the UK have taken medication in an attempt to relieve sleep problems.
Sleep is essential to restore our bodies and minds. However as we grow up, we change the way we prioritise sleep. Sleep routines tend to fly out of the window when we are faced with work pressures and juggling the challenges of everyday life. It doesn’t have to be this way. By re-establishing some really good basic principles, you can be on your way to upping your sleep quota and feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day.
To help you keep your most important New Year’s resolution for 2018, we’ve compiled some helpful tips for sleeping well. Remember: we are all different so some of these tips will work better for some than others. Take some time to discover the best sleep routine for you.
Have a daytime routine
The best way to get a good night’s sleep is to be awake during the day. It sounds obvious, but sleeping in late and excessive napping will play havoc with your sleep patterns. Getting enough exercise, both physical and mental, is great for good sleep. It’s also important to get enough exposure to natural light.
Have a bedtime routine
Establishing a regular, relaxing bedtime routine sends vital signals to the body that it is time for sleep and allows you to start putting the stresses and worries of the day behind you. What you do just before you go to sleep directly affects the quality and duration of your sleep.
The magic 30 minutes
Spend at least 30 minutes winding down before bed. This means doing those things that help you quieten the mind and relax your body. Don’t work, argue with your partner, start opening bills, checking social media or doing anything that will set your mind racing. Choose simple non-stimulating tasks that help you get ready for the next day and give your body the cues that it’s time to sleep.
Create a sanctuary for sleep
Ditch devices and keep your bedroom reserved for sleep. Get rid of the TV and computers from your bedroom space so that your bed is associated only with sleep. It should be dark, so use heavy curtains or an eye mask and try and keep your bedroom as quiet as possible. It’s usually worth investing in soft earplugs that are comfortable to sleep in.
Control the temperature
Many experts say the ideal temperature for the bedroom is 16-18C (60-65F.) The temperature under the duvet is as important as room temperature and should be as close to body temperature as possible. You are just one big fleshy hot water bottle so you will heat up your sleeping space as you slumber. During the night, the body needs to lose heat and this is done mainly through the head and face, which are the only bits that usually stick out from under the duvet. A cool bedroom helps this heat loss. If it’s too hot, it’s more difficult for your body to lose heat and this can cause disturbed sleep. If it’s too cold the body has to work hard to maintain its optimal temperature and that can also disturb your sleep. It’s about getting the right combination of air temperature, duvet and nightwear to achieve the best results.
Programme your body clock
The body craves consistency and having a regular wake up time is a very positive step towards a great sleep routine. It removes the randomness of sleep and you can start to track how much sleep you are or aren’t getting. When you sleep your body moves through cycles of sleep states. The first state is light sleep, followed by deep sleep and a dream state known as REM-sleep. A full sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes and is normally repeated several times a night. When you wake up during light sleep it feels like waking up naturally, rather than being jolted awake by the alarm clock.
At Sleep Well we’re on a mission to help the world get a better night’s sleep. Our gorgeous tasting vanilla drink combines whole Jersey milk with honey and valerian, a herb that’s been helping people relax and sleep for 2,000 years. Great for the family to enjoy, simply drink hot or cold thirty minutes before you want to sleep. Sleep Well is now available in 200ml and 1 litre cartons. To find out more and buy online, simply visit www.sleepwellmilk.com