There are a wide a range of factors that influence the quality of our sleep. Dr Jason Ellis, leading sleep expert and Director of Sleep Research at Mammoth Technologies, gives us his top tips for achieving a great night’s sleep.
1. The bedroom is for sleeping – your bedroom should be primarily associated with sleep. Don’t clutter it with TVs, books or other distractions. If you can’t sleep, leave the bedroom and try not falling asleep anywhere else.
2. Keep cool – overheating will disturb your sleep and stimulate the release of the hormones that will keep you awake. Remember it’s not just room temperature to get right but also your bedding – use mattress, pillows and duvets that help keep temperatures down.
3. Avoid intermittent noises – although our bodies can adjust to regular noises, some intermittent noises can cause waking and disturbed sleep. If you can’t control the noise then try wearing ear plugs.
4. Be comfortable – choose your mattress wisely and make sure your pillows and duvets keep you supported, cool and comfortable.
5. Darken the room – use black-out curtains or blinds to stop external light and turn off internal lights. Light can fool your body into thinking its daytime and start the waking process.
6. Detect any sleep problems – keep a diary to record your sleeping and note down:when you wake during the night; what time you go to bed and get up. If you find your waking at the same time it may be an environmental factor, such as central heating coming on, waking you up so address this issue first.
7. Wind down routine – two hours before you go to bed start a winding down routine. Have a bath, fill in a diary and begin to relax and don’t be tempted to check your e-mail or text messages.
8. Avoid alcohol – although we may feel alcohol helps us sleep we actual wake up almost three times more often during the night if we’ve had too much to drink. Hangovers are partly a result of the poor quality sleep you get after drinking.
9. Watch what you eat – do not eat a heavy meal within two hours of bedtime. Going to bed on a full stomach means your body focuses on digestion rather than sleep. But also don’t go to bed hungry – a light snack, such as cereal, is usually about right.
10. Limit napping during the day – limit your naps to twenty minutes and do not nap in the late afternoon. Napping is the sleep equivalent of snacking – too often or too much will disrupt your main sleep.