A guide to the perfect night’s sleep

Sleep is very important if you want to live a healthy and productive life. We have put together a guide for the perfect night’s sleep so that everyone can improve their quality of sleep.

The key to having a good night’s sleep is sticking to a sleep schedule, it is important for your body to get into a set routine, by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, it allows you to get enough hour’s sleep. Adults need between 6-9 hours of sleep each night depending on the individual. As adults it can be hard to stick to a set bedtime or to get chance to wind down before bed, however, by making a conscious effort to do this your sleep duration and quality will improve. If you are struggling to feel tired at a set time each night try creating a sleep ritual, by creating a sleep ritual your body and mind associate this with it being time to sleep. This allows you to unwind and feel tired when it is time for bed, a sleep ritual can be as simple as taking a bath or listening to relaxing music. By carrying out the same ritual every might before you go to sleep your body will switch off and unwind ready to sleep.

As adults we tend to respond to emails, answer calls or watch TV immediately before we go to sleep, by doing this your body does not become relaxed. By carrying out anxiety-inducing activities or worrying before bed activates the fight or flight hormones which work against sleep, instead of this it is important to wind down and relax for 90 minutes before you go to sleep. To do this try taking a warm bath, practice breathing exercises and try to ban devices in these 90 minutes. By using a mobile phone, computer or even watching the TV can disrupt your quality of sleep, as these types of devices emit a blue light which suppresses the sleep hormone, melatonin.

It is important to create a relaxing and restful environment for you to sleep in, by making a few small changes to your environment your sleep at night will improve. The best environment for sleeping is cool, dark and quiet. If you are having difficulty sleeping try adjusting the temperature of your room, around 20°C is the ideal temperature for most people. One study found that bedroom temperature had more of an impact on the quality of sleep than external noise. Ensuring your room is dark is important when sleeping, invest in some heavy curtains and dim the lights two to three hours before you are due to go to sleep.

When creating a restful environment, it is important to invest in a good quality mattress and to know when to replace your mattress as even the best of mattresses age over time. It is advised that your mattress should be replaced every 7-10 years as well as your bed base. We all know how important it is to have a good quality pillow, by investing in a good quality pillow your spine is supported properly which avoids aches and pains and ensures a good night’s sleep.

Eating too much food before you sleep will also have a negative effect on your sleep quality, it is recommended to avoid food for 2-4 hours before bed. Foods to especially avoid before you sleep are heavy, rich or spicy and acidic foods as these types of food can cause stomach issues. It is advised to cut out caffeine 10-12 hours before sleep as drinking caffeine before bed can disrupt your sleep quality.

Another problem that people have is stressing over being unable to fall asleep, as hard as this may be, it is important to not stress, as stress encourages your body to stay awake. To destress, practice relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, meditation, or visualisation, as relaxation will rejuvenate your body if you are unable to sleep. If you struggle to sleep due to worrying or unable to switch off, try writing all these thoughts down on paper before you sleep so that you can get it out of your head and revisit the next day. Journaling and planning before you go to bed for the next day is key for a good night’s sleep, it allows you to sleep without worrying and feeling overwhelmed with all your thoughts, as putting them down on paper empties your mind, meaning you have a clear mind to sleep. Consequently, your quality of sleep that night will improve, meaning after a good night’s sleep you can be more productive the following day.

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