Common medical opinion tells us that we should aim to get eight hours of sleep per night, although this might not always be possible. Sometimes we might be very late returning from an important commitment and need to be up early to travel to work the next morning, or parents with babies might be woken overnight if their child needs attention.
Even so, it is quite important that we try to get as sound a night’s sleep as possible so that we are not fatigued, stressed and overwhelmed the next day. Going to bed at a reasonably early hour at night is naturally a part of that, but there are several other ways in which we can greatly improve the quality of sleep we get from one night to the next.
Follow your body’s natural cycle
- Try to stick to a consistent sleeping schedule. Even if you go to bed after midnight and sleep past 8am, for example, your body will adjust to its cycle and, by sticking to this cycle as much as possible, you’ll sleep when your body is tired and wake naturally once it has re-energised.
- Don’t sleep in excessively at weekends. Waking up much later than usual will affect your body’s natural cycle and could leave you jaded on a Monday morning. It’s better to wake up early and go for an afternoon nap than to sleep in long past your usual wake-up time.
- If you feel sleepy around teatime (approx. 6pm), do something mildly stimulating such as washing the dishes or going for a short walk. This will stop you from dozing off and potentially affecting your overnight sleep quality.
Organise a comfortable sleep environment
- Make sure your bed feels just right. This means having a comfortable and suitably-sized mattress for your body, along with a sturdy and high quality bed frame to match. If your mattress provides no real comfort or the bed is too small for you, it will be difficult to sleep properly.
- Try to avoid doing work or using electronic devices with bright screens in your bedroom, especially late at night. If you use your bedroom for little else other than sleeping, you will subconsciously associate the room with sleeping first and foremost, which will make it easier to fall asleep at night.
- Maintain a cool temperature of approx. 18°C and make sure that the room is well ventilated. A cool, consistent temperature will be a big help in easily getting to sleep, whereas a bedroom that’s excessively warm or cold will affect sleep quality.
Limit night-time light exposure
- Don’t watch TV or use your computer within 2 hours of your planned bedtime, as this exposure to the blue light of device screens will make it harder to fall asleep quickly. For similar reasons, avoid using tablets or smartphones immediately before going to bed.
- Block as much light in the room as possible before going to sleep. Make sure light isn’t seeping through the curtains and cover any lights from electronics or wall sockets.
- If you get up in the middle of the night, consider using dimmable lights or a torch so that exposure to light is controlled, allowing you to get back to sleep quickly.
Exercise during the day
- Regular exercise in the morning or afternoon will improve symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnoea, while also increasing the time spent in deep, restorative overnight sleep.
- Even gentle exercises like short walks will help to improve your sleep quality, although high-intensity workouts will contribute to an even better night’s sleep.
- However, you should avoid vigorous exercise late in the evening, as this will speed up your metabolism and make it harder for you to fall asleep at your intended bedtime. Routines such as yoga and Pilates are much better suited to late evenings.
Maintain a sensible diet
- Avoid caffeine and nicotine in the evening, as these will keep you stimulated and disrupt your sleep quality. Indeed, smoking should be avoided completely for the overall good of your health.
- Don’t eat big meals within 2 hours of your intended bedtime, as this could lead to indigestion and heartburn, thus affecting your sleep quality.
- Try to avoid drinking any liquids, especially alcohol, in the evening so that you’ll be less likely to require multiple bathroom trips during your intended bedtime.
- Cut back on sugary foods and refined carbs. If you wish to have a late-night snack, try a banana, yogurt or a small bowl of wholegrain cereal.
At EZ Living, we believe that one of the main keys to a consistent good night’s sleep is investment in a quality mattress that suits your needs. We have mattresses in a variety of sizes and materials from a wide choice of high quality, well known brands and our experienced sales advisors will be happy to help you.