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How to get a better night’s sleep

It’s no secret that many of us have trouble sleeping, with a recent survey by the organisation Sleepio revealing that over 50% of us struggle to nod off, with women being three times more likely than men to suffer from insomnia. Here are some tips for getting a good night’s sleep from Andrew Waters at 1907 beds:

Don’t power-nap

Winston Churchill was a firm believer in the power-nap for those who struggle to get enough sleep at night, saying “you will be able to accomplish more. You get two days in one – well, at least one and a half.” However it’s important to note that while it may temporarily improve your productivity, a nap during the day can hinder your ability to sleep at night, making the cycle of sleep deprivation worse. It’s much healthier to try to establish a regular sleep routine, so you get all the sleep you need at night without having to resort to extreme strategies or naps during the day.

Become a creature of habit

In the whirl of our increasingly fast-paced lives, routine is often given low priority. However, it is actually very important for establishing a healthy sleep pattern. Try to get into a regular bedtime routine and once you have discovered what works for you, stick to it. This will help your body wind down and ensure that once you get into bed you are prepared for sleep.

Ditch the lie in

We often try to offset late nights out socialising and having to get up early for work by sleeping in at the weekends. However, this is a bad idea as it upsets your circadian rhythm, making it harder for you to fall asleep during the week which in turn leaves you exhausted in the mornings. Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time each day. If your work requires an early start, you might just need to go to bed earlier. Plus, just think of all that extra time you will have at weekends if you’re not spending half the morning in bed!

Eat for sleep

Did you know that certain foods and drinks can help your body prepare for sleep? Foods known for their sleep-inducing properties include bananas and oats which are high in melatonin, milk, almonds and – surprisingly – turkey which are all high in tryptophan which has a sedative effect. So now we know why everyone falls asleep after Christmas dinner! On a serious note, try to include a couple of these sleep-boosters into your evening routine, for example a banana with a glass of hot milk. Combine this with cutting out stimulating caffeine for up to eight hours before bed and this could make a huge difference to your ability to fall asleep easily.

Get active

Research has shown that those who take at least thirty minutes of light exercise every day are much more likely to report good sleep at night. Not only does this ensure you are physically tired enough to want to fall asleep, it also relieves any stress and anxiety which can keep you awake at night. Just make sure you don’t exercise too close to bedtime as your body needs time to cool down and unwind.

Embrace the dark – and harness natural light

With the advent of blackout materials it’s now very easy to ensure that you sleep in a dark environment. Light is a major influence on our circadian rhythm which regulates our sleep cycle – and not just daylight, artificial light can be disruptive too.  If you do wake up in the night, try not to switch on the main light as this can upset your sleep cycle and make it difficult to fall back to sleep. On the other hand, if you’re sleepy in the mornings, make some time to sit or stand outside, or at the very least by a window to give your body a chance to respond to the natural light. During the dark winter months, a daylight alarm clock is a good investment as it emits light to simulate sunrise, bringing your body round to the idea of waking up even though it is still dark outside.

Are you sleeping comfortably?

And finally, when did you last change your mattress? If your mattress is over seven years old it is definitely time for a replacement. As the internal structure is likely to have broken down it may no longer be providing the correct support. Make sure you research plenty of options, both natural filling and memory foam until you find the perfect mattress for your needs – you’ll be amazed how different you feel after a comfortable night’s sleep.

For more advice on sleep or selecting your perfect mattress go to: www.1907beds.co.uk

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