World Sleep Day: 10 tips for a better night’s rest
A top sleep expert has given 10 top tips on how to curate your bedroom space for the perfect night of slumber – including banishing the floordrobe, putting bed socks on and keeping anything work-related away from the bed.
Ahead of World Sleep Day (Friday 17th March), expert Hannah Shore has also revealed that watching TV to doze off isn’t always bad – if the content is calming.
She said: “You’ve all heard about blue light, how this can stop you from sleeping and we should be off our phones for at least an hour before bed – but this doesn’t work for everyone.
“Blue light isn’t always bad, and most devices now come with an eye comfort mode setting anyway, swapping out those harsh blue tones for softer yellow ones.
“It is the content we are looking at which causes more harm.
“Looking at the news or watching something tense can all lead our bodies to be on edge, producing wake-promoting hormones like cortisol.
“Instead of watching anything overly addictive and intense like Happy Valley, which makes you think ‘just one more’, it’s best to watch something you’ve already seen before like re-runs of Friends, or a relaxing programme.
It comes after a poll of 2,000 adults, commissioned by Premier Inn to mark Sleep Awareness Week (13-19th March), found people have tried different ways to make their bedroom a more relaxing environment, including getting new pillows (34 per cent), a new mattress (29 per cent) and blackout curtains (25 per cent).
Finding the proper pillow
According to Hannah how you sleep predicts the thickness of your pillow. “Front and back sleepers need a thinner pillow, whereas side sleepers need a thicker pillow to fill the gap between the ear and the shoulder.”
Another easy fix for better sleep is to wear appropriate nightwear and being aware of what you eat and drink two hours before bed. Hannah said: “PJs should be loose-fitted and light, while bed socks can increase the blood circulation which can help with cooling the body down.
“You should avoid eating large meals late in the evening, because digestion causes our body temperature to raise when it should be dropping. Also be mindful of what you drink as caffeine can block receptors in our brain making our bodies think we are not tired.
“Alcohol can act as a sedative for the first phase of sleep, however it then acts as a stimulant leaving the rest of the night’s sleep light and fractured.”
More than half of those surveyed – 52 per cent – believe a messy bedroom affects their sleep, despite 57 per cent utilising their ‘floordrobe’ – chucking clothes on the floor each night rather than hanging them up.
Adds Hannah: “A tidy room allows the sleeper to de-stress. Keeping clear sides at all time can help you relax and fall asleep quicker.”
It also emerged seven in 10 of those polled, via OnePoll, claim a bad night’s sleep has a negative impact on their mood. While 52 per cent can’t remember the last time they had what they’d describe as a perfect night’s sleep.
More than three-quarters (76 per cent) go as far as admitting they’d feel like a new person if they ever got a really good night’s kip.
Sleep expert Hannah Shore’s top 10 bedroom tips for a better night’s sleep
1 – TV and devices: Tech isn’t always bad. If you are using a device before bed, use it in eye comfort mode to create calming sounds, listen to podcasts or even help with certain breathing exercises. Avoid viewing content such as news that causes tension and promotes wake hormones.
2- Socks: Bed socks can increase blood circulation which can help with cooling the body down. Ideally your body temperature needs to naturally drop by a couple of degrees to get good quality sleep.
3 – Clutter: Banish the floordrobe! A cluttered bedroom can cause the mind to feel stressed and stress is sleep’s worst enemy. Ensuring you have places to put away all your belongings, for example a storage or ottoman bed, and keeping sides and floors clear can really help this.
4 – Pillows: Finding the right pillow to support your sleeping position is a must. If you are a front or back sleeper, you will need a thinner pillow. Side sleepers will need a thicker pillow to fill the gap between the ear and the edge of the shoulder.
5 – Dark Light: When you are going to bed try keeping the light levels in your room low by using a bed side lamp instead of the bright ceiling light. Dim light helps our bodies to start producing sleep hormones, like melatonin.
6 – Bright Light: Bright light when the sun rises too early can wake you easily by telling your body to stop producing sleep hormones. At home make sure to have blackout blinds or curtains, or even an eye mask to block out those bright lights.
7 – Working: We often take our work to bed with us, either trying to remember to do things the following day or literally checking emails whilst we should be sleeping. This can cause our minds to work overtime, struggle to switch off and therefore struggle to fall asleep. If you do need to work in your bedroom try to set up a dedicated work space, with a desk if possible, so you can create separation between work and sleep.
8 – Comfort: Comfort is essential for a good night’s sleep. From different types of pillows, a new mattress or even adding a padded mattress topper can improve sleep comfort. Some hotel chains (like Premier Inn) sell their beds and bedding so is the perfect opportunity to ‘try before you buy’.
9 – Bed sharing: Sharing a bed is great, cuddles can relax and destress you. However, the number one cause for disrupted sleep is partner disturbance so make sure you have the right conversations and prioritise each other’s sleep. Separate beds and bedrooms are more common than you think.
10 – Wind-down routine: As adults we often forget the importance of a good winddown routine, allowing your mind and body to switch off from everything that has happened throughout the day. Our body needs time to relax so it can stop producing all those wake-promoting hormones and allow our bodies to realise it is time to sleep.