A good night’s sleep is just as essential to caring for your mind and body as eating properly and regular exercise, as consistent poor sleep puts us at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy.
The NHS says that sleep boosts the immune system and improves our mental wellbeing whereas a severe lack of sleep can lead to depression and anxiety so it’s really important that we realise the significance of a good night’s rest.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults aged 26-64 should have 7-9 hours sleep a night but for many people, managing that many hours can prove difficult.
Tips for a good nights sleep
If you’ve only been daydreaming of a restful night, then try out these 5 tips to healthier, natural sleep:
Good sleeping environment
First and foremost – make sure you’ve given yourself a proper sleeping environment. The bedroom is for sleeping… well, it’s certainly not an office come dining room come living room! So stop taking work under the covers, and get the TV out of there. No matter what you think, it doesn’t help you get to sleep. And make sure the room is no more than 20 degrees, too toasty and you’ll be tossing and turning all night.
Now that you’ve got a decent environment dedicated to slumber, make sure your mattress is comfy. You should change your mattress every 10 years, and flip it about twice a year. Maybe even consider investing in a mattress ‘topper’.
Digesting a huge heavy meal isn’t easy work, your stomach doesn’t want a whole heap of work to deal with just before bedtime anymore than you would. Try to eat a good few hours before you plan to hit the hay, and aim for lighter ingredients light salad, veg and fish. And try to avoid coffee, tea, alcohol, red meat and spicy meals.
Listen to your body
Take notice of what your body is telling you. When the yawns hit, it’s time to go. Did you know that your body clock organises sleep in 90-minute cycles? Miss the window, and you’ll be up longer than ‘just the end of this episode’.
Now that you’re ready for bed – you just need to switch off! Easier said than done, certainly. Try not to think about work, bills and other worrying activities. Listen to soothing music, chatting with your partner or meditating – anything that doesn’t involve too much serious thought.
National Sleep Foundation