The Perfect Night’s Sleep – and How to Get It
At least two thirds of the UK’s adult population experiences disturbed sleep, with an estimated 23 percent having less than five hours of sleep every night!
Indeed, sleeplessness is a major problem in UK, as not getting enough sleep consistently translates to reduced productivity during the day and puts people at the risk of developing various health problems.
There is hope though, because an estimated 25% of the UK population has put ‘improving sleep’ as top on their priority list, as everyone knows just how important sleep is to their well being.
As you well know, a perfect night’s sleep is one that leaves you feeling refreshed and ready to face the day when you wake up. Anything short of that is one that can be improved on. Unfortunately, daily challenges and work-related stress coupled with all manner of sleep sucking habits and environments like binge watching movies and social media all end up affecting the quality of your sleep directly or indirectly.
So what can you do about it?
You can take several measures to improve the quality of your sleep.
1: Create a sleep schedule
If you want to sleep well, you must prepare to sleep well. This means creating a sleep schedule. A sleep schedule tells you when to go to bed and the things you’ll do before actually getting into your bed.
It can include things such as:
• Your sleep and wake time – You need to be consistent when it comes to the time you go to sleep and the time you wake up. Stay in bed and relax your mind until you learn to adjust.
• Your sleep routine – A sleep routine can include things such as taking a warm bath, listening to soft music, reading a book and dimming the lights as you near your bedtime.
The important thing when creating a sleep schedule is to follow the routine consistently. This way, your brain can learn to associate the routine with sleep and once you engage in it, it will start switching off for the night.
2: Reduce your exposure to blue light
The natural light you’re exposed to during the day tends to be beneficial to you. However, the blue light you’re exposed to especially during the nighttime is not good for your sleep.
So while products like the the Sleep Station’s range of luxurious TV beds are perfect for relaxing, make sure you press the button that slides the monitor back in to the foot end of the bed in good time for sleep.
Blue light is the light that stems from electronic devices such as computers, TV and smartphones. Such light messes up with your circadian rhythm and makes your brain think that nighttime is still daytime. This, in turn, reduces hormones such as melatonin and as a result, you’re unable to relax and attain that deep healing sleep.
If you want to improve your sleep, you’ll do well to limit your exposure to blue light.
• Switch off your television and any bright lights at least 2 hours before your bedtime.
• Install apps to block blue light from your smartphone, laptop or computer.
• Wear glasses that can block blue light.
If you block blue light, your brain will be able to turn off at night and this will greatly improve the quality of your sleep.
3: Regulate your diet
The food you eat can determine whether or not you experience a good night’s sleep. You want to avoid things such as alcohol and caffeine as you near your bedtime. You also want to avoid eating a high-carb meal at least 3 hours before your bedtime. If at all possible, stick to a low-carb diet, as this will improve the quality of your sleep.
4: Optimise your sleeping environment for sleep
The problem you are experiencing with sleeplessness may have a lot to do with your bedroom. For instance, if you have a tendency of working from your bedroom, watching movies from your bedroom or using your smartphone a lot when you go to bed, these bad habits may be making it hard for you to sleep. This is because your brain has associated your bedroom with ‘activities’ that stimulate the brain as opposed to relaxing the brain. As such, stop these bad habits and be consistent about it to build new neural connections in your brain – where your brain associates the bedroom with sleeping.
Moreover, optimise your bedroom for sleep by making sure that it is dark (pitch black is best- so install blackout curtains or wear eye masks to create the much needed darkness). Also, remove anything that may be distracting e.g. radio and any music systems that may make it hard for you to fall asleep – only go to the bedroom when you want to sleep – not to listen to music no matter how soothing. And when it comes to going to bed, make it your only priority when you actually are going to sleep; it is not time to organise your closet – do that some other time.
Overall, a good night’s sleep is within your reach. But you have to make some adjustments. Create a sleep schedule, limit blue light, deal with distractions, and regulate your diet and you’ll be well on your way to experiencing the perfect night’s sleep.