Sleep gives your body a rest and allows it to prepare for the next day. It also gives your brain a chance to sort things out.
The key to a good night’s sleep is to experiment. What works for some might not work as well for others. Find the sleep strategies that are right for you and work out how much sleep you need to function at your best.
Your bedroom should be the perfect setting too – a relaxing environment that’s preferably dark, cool, quiet and devoid of clutter or electronic gadgetry.
Experts claim there’s a strong association in people’s minds between sleep and the bedroom. However, certain things weaken that association, such as TVs and other electronic gadgets, light, noise, and a bad mattress or bed.
Keep your bedroom smelling fresh and at a temperature of between 18C and 24C.
Decorate with the right colours – this can aid sleep too, according to one study. It showed that bedrooms painted in a calming colour, such as blue,tend to induce the best rest and allow you to wake feeling happy and positive.
Apparently the colour is linked to calm, soothing feelings and is thought to slow the heart rate and even reduce blood pressure. Green is agood example too.The foundation of good sleep is also a comfortable bed. Research by The Sleep Council suggests that a good-quality mattress and bed frame from a quality supplier will give you an extra hour’s sleep and we all know that the right mattress and pillows can make all the difference.
Lack of support from a mattress reinforces poor sleeping posture and can prevent you from getting a good nights’ sleep, leaving you feeling bad the next day, so it’s important to find the right one.
Other factors in a good night’s sleep include your lifestyle, stress, diet, exercise and relaxation, so try the following:
- Sleep and wake at regular times- this will make you feel much more refreshed and energized.
- Get outside during the day – Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Try and get as much natural light as you can in the day and keep it dark at night.
- Make the run up to bedtime a relaxing one – try reading a book or magazine by a soft light, take a warm bath, listen to soft music, do some easy stretches, wind down with a favorite hobby or make simple preparations for the next day.
- Watch what you consume in the hours leading up to bedtime. Stay away from big meals at night, avoid alcohol before bed, cut down on caffeine, don’t drink too many liquids in the evening to minimise bathroom visits and quit smoking.
- Minimise stress and anxiety. If you find yourself unable to sleep or waking up through the night due to this, try some relaxation techniques before you go to bed, get organized, set priorities, delegate tasks and give yourself permission to take a break when you need one.