Yawning all morning? On your fifth cup of coffee by 10am? Wanting to crawl under your desk and let sleep take you? Sounds like you didn’t sleep very well…
“I went to bed at 9.30pm! I don’t understand it!?” It all comes back to the whole quality versus quantity scenario. 10 hours of poor sleep is worse for you than 5 hours of quality sleep. But how do you ensure quality sleep?
Here are my top 5 tips to a good nights sleep;
1. Exercise. Not again I hear you shout. I’m sorry but regular exercise is a recipe for success in pretty much every area of your life. Ask anyone how well they slept after an endurance event (assuming the aches hadn’t set in). Your body wants to recover and recuperate after exercising and there’s no better way to do that than when you’re asleep. Even a brisk 20min walk will encourage better rest, just try not to exercise too near to bedtime as you’ll be too ‘wired’ to switch off.
2. Turn Off Your Phone. Yes, you heard me turn that blessed thing off. There’s absolutely nothing worth leaving your phone on for during the night. I hear people say “But what if it’s an emergency!?” Are you now a paramedic? What can you do about it? 20years ago we coped, you’ll cope now trust me. Social media consumes enough of your time during the day, don’t let it control your night aswell. All electrical products of this ilk emit blue light that stimulates our brain, when you’re trying to sleep brain stimulation is the last thing you want. TV off, phone off, light off, snooze in peace…. zZZ. Oh, and you can buy a little alarm clock for a fiver from argos so using your phone as your alarm is no excuse.
3. Open A Window. Unless you live in a particular noisey area or sleep on the ground floor then opening a window is another simple way to help you sleep. The benefits of fresh air are well documented; maximising oxygen uptake, circulating out any stale air and creating a cooler environment that aids sleep.
4. Eliminate Light. I’m not talking black out blinds here, just curtains that sufficiently hide any artificial light from outside such as streetlights, cars etc. Your body produces more of the sleep hormone melatonin when it gets dark and conversley produces less when it gets light. Exposure to light naturally triggers the ‘waking up’ process, unfortunately the sun doesn’t always rise at the times that suit us but the wonders of modern technology allow us to recreate this. Several companies now offer lights as alarm clocks. This means your body starts to wake up as the light intensity increases, a much more natural stimulation than an annoying beeping noise. I can personally recommend this particular clock by lumie (above) it makes getting up seem much less of a chore.
5. Invest In A Decent Mattress and Pillow. I typically advise on a memory foam mattress and pillow as they have made a massive difference to my sleep quality. They support you in all the right areas and decrease the severity of any particular pressure points.
The expert opinion is to change your mattress every 7years but really if your mattress was good quality and still maintains the same structure/ shape AND more importantly aids a good nights sleep then don’t change it.
Alcohol and caffeine are definite no nos before hitting the hay so why not try having a drink of chamomile before bed? It is a mild tranquilizer and sleep inducer with the added benefit of hydration. I always have it.