Sleep is essential in order to maintain our physical and mental health. Yet many of us struggle to get enough kip. This is especially true since the Covid-19 pandemic and the rise of hybrid working which has blurred the lines between working and leisure hours.
Recent research of 2,000 adults by health and wellness company dōTERRA found 55 per cent of the nation ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ get enough sleep while almost half are convinced they slept much better during their youth. Only 24 per cent think their sleep has improved as they’ve got older.
The survey identified family worries, work stresses and room temperature – either too hot or too cold – as just some of the common obstacles preventing a good night’s sleep. But just how to do you go about trying to improve your sleep? Here we provide 5 ways that can help.
Limit screen time before bed
We are all guilty of checking our mobile phones constantly, often at the same time as watching TV. However, to ensure a decent night’s sleep, it’s a good idea to limit your screen time in the period before going to bed. Ideally you should avoid taking devices to the bedroom altogether, but if you do need to use a phone before bedtime it’s a good idea to use a filter to reduce the amount of blue light available as this can supress the production of melatonin – a sleep-inducing hormone. If you must have a TV in your bedroom, make sure you always switch it off a least an hour to 30 minutes before sleeping.
Buy a good mattress
Without doubt, your bed is the most crucial item of furniture in the bedroom. Look for a bed that is comfortable and shop around for a mattress which is the right kind of softness to support your weight. Retailers such as John Lewis have a wide range of mattresses to choose from. One of the most essential things about the bed is the pillow. When you are choosing a new pillow, you should know what pillow firmness is going to allow you to sleep with your head, neck, and shoulders aligned with your spine as well as provide you comfort.
Reduce light pollution
To improve your sleep quality, you need to control light exposure. This means getting enough daylight by sitting near the window during work hours or taking walks whenever you can (even on a foggy day). In the evening, it’s best to dim the lights for a couple of hours before going to bed while at night you can use heavy curtains or black out blinds to reduce the amount of light pollution from streetlights. You can also buy a mask to cover your eyes during sleep.
Block the Noise
For you to be able to sleep comfortably, you need to be in a serene and quiet environment. If you live in an area that is busy and noisy, this means taking action to reduce the noise in your bedroom. For example, you can buy earplugs relatively cheaply or get a white noise machine that will help combat the effects of noisy neighbours. There’s now a wide range of gadgets to help you get the sleep you need.
Keep professional and personal time separate
One of the problems with hybrid, or flexible, working is that it’s increasingly difficult for us to switch off! This means in the evening when we should be relaxing and unwinding, we find ourselves checking emails, even making work calls and sending documents. Ideally, if you have space, your work laptop (if you have one) should be kept in a separate room, such as a home office. Your phone should also be switched to do not disturb or off altogether so you can keep your professional and private life as separate as possible.
World Sleep Day is on March 18th, 2022