Tips for Getting a Good Night's Sleep
Most, if not all of us, struggle to get to sleep at some point in our lives. For some, this can be short-lived, but for others, not being able to sleep may be a longer-lasting problem.
Whilst we are not medical professionals and so cannot offer any specific advice (nor do we claim that this advice is exhaustive, either!) - there are a few things that everyone can do to develop good sleeping habits.
Improve your sleeping environment
It's important to ensure your bedroom is set up ready for a good night's sleep. Follow our tips below to create a calm and distraction-free space to help lull you to sleep.
Reduce noise levels
A calm, quiet bedroom is an essential part of being able to sleep well. However, it can be hard to achieve this if you live somewhere like an inner city or if you have a noisy sleeping partner.
You could try using foam earplugs or listening to 'white noise' to help you block out unwanted noise for a more restful night.
Block out light
When it's dark, your body releases a hormone called melatonin. This helps you to drift off to sleep.
If it isn't dark enough in your bedroom, you could invest in black-out blinds or use an eye mask to help reduce light levels.
Keep your bedroom slightly cool
A room temperature of around 16-18°C is usually recommended for a good night's sleep. However, try modifying the temperature so it suits you perfectly.
Reduce any distractions
Never before have we had so many devices, all demanding our attention. Whilst being connected to our loved ones can be wonderful, being able to switch off and wind down is an important part of being able to sleep.
Turn your room into a calm haven. Turn off your phone or leave it in another room while you sleep. Learn to associate your bedroom with relaxation and sleep.
Take a look at your lifestyle
Making changes to your sleeping environment isn't the only way to improve the quality of your sleep. It's important to consider making improvements to your daily routine and lifestyle, too. Take a look at our tips below.
Keep to a schedule
Try to go to bed and get up at the same time everyday, even on weekends. This helps our bodies learn when we should be tired, and helps us to feel ready for sleep at the right time.
Take time to wind down
Notice how we create bedtime routines for babies and children, but we often neglect ourselves? We can all benefit from a relaxing bedtime routine to help us wind down after a long day.
Try doing something calming a couple of hours before going to sleep. This could include taking a bath, listening to relaxing music or reading a book.
Drinks such as coffee and tea (containing caffeine), or cigarettes (containing nicotine) are stimulants which prevent us from feeling sleepy. Caffeine can even cause problems with sleeping ten to twelve hours after you have consumed it!
Try to avoid stimulants after mid-afternoon or replace your usual drink with a non-caffeinated option. This will help you get a more restful night's sleep.
Limit alcohol intake
Despite making you feel sleepy, alcohol actually reduces sleep quality and can make you wake up in the night.
Try to limit alcohol for more restorative sleep. Not only will you enjoy better quality sleep, you'll also wake up feeling brighter and headache-free the morning after!
Avoid eating late
We know that sneaky evening snacks can be all too tempting sometimes! However, eating too close to bedtime, particularly spicy or fatty foods, can reduce sleep quality.
If you're really peckish, eating carbohydrate-based foods containing the amino acid tryptophan can actually promote sleep. Examples of foods high in tryptophan are bananas, peanuts, oats, milk and yoghurt. So, cereal with milk or peanut butter on toast can all help to release this sleepiness-inducing chemical.
Get regular exercise
With so many of us now working in sedentary jobs, it's never been more essential to take regular exercise.
There are literally hundreds of benefits that exercise offers. Aside from improving both our physical and mental health, regular exercise can improve sleep quality, too.
So long as you don't exercise too close to bedtime (which may wake you up rather than make you feel sleepy!) exercise is a great way to help you to drift off more easily.
Try to reduce stress
Our lives can be busy and stressful, and this can affect the quality of our sleep. When we're feeling stressed, we can find it difficult to wind down in the evenings, or we might find ourselves not able to fall asleep, despite being really tired.
The next day we can feel exhausted and certainly not at our best. We might drink too many caffeinated drinks to help us stay alert, or take a nap. This may serve only to make sleeping the following night even more of a struggle.
However, there are lots of ways we can reduce stress levels and feel better. Why not try spending a little bit of time each day doing something to relax to help reduce stress.
Here are a few suggestions that you could try.
- Spend time with a good friend
- Watch a comedy
- Go for a relaxing walk
- Read a good book
- Listen to your favourite music
- Take a bath
It could be, however, that you need to take a closer look at the aspects of your life that cause you stress and sleeping difficulties.
If you are at all concerned with any difficulties you may have with stress or sleeping, it is always a good idea to seek professional help.
Consider getting a new bed and mattress
Are you getting a good night's sleep anywhere but your own bed? It might be time for a change.
The National Bed Federation recommend changing your bed and mattress every seven years.
However, the following can all be signs that you need to invest in a new bed and mattress sooner:
- A worn-out, lumpy mattress
- Waking up with a sore back
- Tossing and turning more than usual at night
If you need more information, visit our guide on when to upgrade your mattress.
What size do you need?
Maybe you're not getting a good night's sleep because your bed isn't big enough for your needs.
Did you know that a double bed only offers each person the same personal space as a cot-bed? You may want to consider a king-size bed if you have the space.
What are your comfort and support needs?
Perhaps your mattress no longer offers you the right level of support.
Firmness preference is a highly personal choice. You might like to visit our mattress firmness guide for more help and advice.
We can help!
With options such as memory foam, pocket springs or even natural fillings, there's something for everyone. Why not take a look at our huge range and let us help you create the best night's sleep, night after night.
Seeking further help
Sleeping difficulties could have underlying causes. It may be helpful to get further advice and support from your doctor if you are concerned about this.