If better sleep is on your wishlist for 2017, then help is at hand. We’ve packed this blog post with simple sleep habits you can develop in the year ahead, helping you to get a better night’s sleep – and get more out of every day.
1. Prepare your brain
It’s one you may have heard time and time again, but only because it’s true! Blue lights on phones, laptops and PCs can all prevent the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps control your sleep cycles. Without it, your brain will think it’s still time to be awake – when it’s not. A good sleep habit to get into is to avoid using any device that will expose your eyes to blue light. If it’s smart enough, change the settings to dim the light so that your body is producing the natural amount of melatonin needed for bedtime.
2. Cut the caffeine
What might seem like a significant lifestyle change for some can also have significant effects. Caffeine has great energising qualities ideal for the morning, but past noon caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee and cola can leave their mark come bedtime. A healthy sleep habit to employ for a better snooze is to avoid these and go for decaffeinated options instead.
3. Time your exercise
We all know that exercise is important – but timing is crucial when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. After all, the last thing you want is to leave your body too energised to sleep.
While it’s never advised to stop exercising completely, fitting it around your sleep needs is important. Leave a minimum of 3-4 hours between exercising and going to bed, to let your serotonin levels drop and therefore promote a better state of sleep for your brain. This is a good sleep habit to get into to maintain a healthy lifestyle without letting it affect your sleep.
4. Stick to a routine
As tempting as lie-ins can be, sticking to a good routine can promote healthy sleep habits by conditioning your body to fall to sleep and wake up at the right times. While an extra few hours in the morning or the odd late night can’t be avoided, sticking as closely as you can to a healthy routine can really encourage better sleep habits in the long run and prevent more consistent sleep problems from occurring.
Track your progress using a sleep diary or app, so you can see how successful you are at developing and sticking to that routine.
5. Create a healthier sleeping environment
Tackled all of the above? It could be time to turn your attention to your sleeping environment. After all, your bedroom is made for sleeping and so the environment should reflect this. Here are just a few of our top tips to help you get started:
- Create the right temperature: Feeling too hot is one of the most common causes of waking at night, so make sure that you pay attention to the temperature of your bedroom.Turn off or adjust the central heating to a minimum before bedtime and consider using a fan or leaving a window slightly open if you struggle with regular overheating at night. If you share your bed with a partner or spouse who complains about feeling too cold, try using blankets or invest in a wool duvet to help meet your differing temperature needs.
- Introduce soothing scents with incense and candles: Lavender, jasmine and chamomile are all popular choices, but you could choose any scent at all that helps you to relax and unwind.
- Choose natural wool bedding to promote a better night’s rest. Did you know that sleeping under wool bedding can help to alleviate the symptoms of night-time allergies, as well as helping you to combat overheating and night sweats?
So there you have it – small, simple changes to develop better sleep habits in the year ahead. Experiencing specific sleep problems? Visit our Sleep Health & Advice Hub for information on night sweats, night-time allergies and more.