We all know that we should be aiming to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. The benefits of getting plenty of sleep have been proven time and time again and include boosting your immune system, allowing the body time to repair itself, preventing weight gain, improving overall mood and improving brain function.
You may already be getting your 8 hours, but is the sleep you’re getting of quality? Do you wake up feeling refreshed or do you just want to get another couple of hours in?
We have put together 9 top tips to improve the quality of your sleep, which you can mix and match to suit your lifestyle.
1 – Quality Bedding
One of the main factors in making sure you have a fantastic sleep is being comfortable. If you are constantly fidgeting, trying to find a comfortable sleeping position, perhaps you should look at investing in a new high-quality mattress that suits you. Your pillows, duvet and bed sheets also play a big part in making your sleep better – try and go for the best quality that your budget allows.
2 – Stick to a schedule
Having a routine is key to success in all areas of life, so why not stick to a routine when it comes to sleeping? Going to bed and waking up at the same time every night will get your body into a good habit of knowing when it needs time to rest. Set an alarm and stick with it – even on weekends.
3 – Avoid caffeine
Many of us are more sensitive to caffeine than we may realise. We understand that it may be difficult to give it up completely, but even if you cut your caffeine intake by half, it can have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Try and cut out the caffeine after midday and see how much better you feel within days.
4 – Winding Down
Half an hour before you plan on going to bed, you should start winding down for the night. Relax your brain and really get yourself into a calm state. A few ways to do this are; enjoying a bath, reading a book, listening to calming music and writing in your diary or journal.
5 – Disconnect from devices
Not only do electronic devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops distract you, but the blue light from their screens can actually interfere with how well you sleep. Most smartphones have a ‘night-time mode’ option which is recommended to be used, but if you can, try and put down your devices altogether for at least half an hour before bed. If you wake up in the middle of the night, do not be tempted to reach for your phone – even if it’s just to check the time.
6 – Block out light
If you are sensitive to light in the bedroom while you are sleeping, taking the time to make sure all sources of light are blocked can really benefit your sleep quality. Investing in thick, black-out curtains or blinds can really help to block out any outside light sources like street lights, car headlights and other houses. If you have any other devices in the bedroom that may give off light, make sure they are removed or covered over.
7 – Limit Alcohol
If you are one to have a ‘night-cap’ before bed, you may be doing yourself more harm than good. Alcohol can make you feel drowsy, however, it also affects the brain in ways that can lower sleep quality, and for that reason, it’s best to avoid alcohol in the lead-up to bedtime.
8 – Don’t eat late
You shouldn’t eat a meal within 3 hours of going to bed. Your body will find it harder to fall asleep while disgesting food. To avoid any interruptions to your sleep, minimise late meals, fatty or spicy foods, and keep evening snacks light and healthy.
9 – Try Meditation
Meditation has so many benefits for our minds, bodies and wellbeing. One of these benefits is the improvement of sleep quantity and quality. There are many ways in which you can meditate, but if you are a beginner, try a guided sleep mediation (which you will find plenty online). These meditations are purposely written to help you fall into a deep sleep.
Do you have any tips of your own to ensure you get the best night’s sleep possible? Let us know!