Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for your body to function at its best.
A good night’s sleep can keep your heart healthy, improve your cognitive ability, increase the strength of your immune system and help with maintaining a healthy weight.
But, despite all of these benefits, getting a good night’s sleep every night can be difficult.
Here are some top tips to help you get a good night’s sleep:
#1 Make sure your bed and bedroom are comfortable
Set your bedroom up for optimal comfort and an undisturbed night’s sleep.
Regulate the temperature in advance. Whether you prefer it cool or cosy, make sure those needs are met before you fall asleep.
If you prefer complete darkness, make sure you have thick curtains or blinds to block out any sunlight.
Don’t put up with a bed that is too old and creaks. Or a mattress with springs that dig into you in the night as you try to get comfortable. All of these things disrupt your sleep cycle.
FlexiSpot offer an electric adjustable bed base that can allow you to adjust your bed to a position that suits you.
Investing in a comfortable bed will repay you over and over by helping you get a good night’s sleep. An adjustable bed can help you wake up each morning feeling refreshed for the day.
#2 Have a regular sleep schedule
Going to sleep (and waking up) at the same time each night will help with your body’s sleep cycle.
Cortisol is a hormone that is released throughout the day, increasing and decreasing in a natural pattern. Cortisol helps us to sleep as when our cortisol levels drop, our body begins preparing for sleep.
The more you engage in a regular sleep schedule, the more consistent your cortisol levels will be at the time you want to sleep. That means that instead of laying in bed thinking that you are wide awake, your body will be preparing itself for its usual time to sleep.
The same will also apply in the morning, with cortisol levels rising, your body will start to wake up. Keeping to the same routine will help to keep the cycle consistent, improving your sleep.
#3 Downtime before you sleep
Consistency with your sleep hormone levels is essential for a good night’s sleep, and one of the ways we can do that is by convincing our brain that our bed is for sleeping.
If you are climbing into bed each night and then watching TV for four hours before sleeping, your brain will be overactive and struggle to switch off. The same applies for any electronic device - they all emit blue light which causes our brain to release cortisol keeping us awake.
A lot of devices do now have a night-time mode, but this just reduces the amount of blue light, some is still emitted.
But, if you get into bed at a consistent time each day, do a relaxing activity such as reading, your brain will continue on its wind down, releasing the sleep hormones we need.
#4 Bedtime routines
As children, most of us had a regular bedtime routine that would help us wind down and prepare us for sleep. This might have included brushing your teeth, putting on your pyjamas, and then reading in bed for fifteen minutes before going to sleep.
A simple bedtime routine like this actually helps us get to sleep. Your brain becomes trained to recognise the signals that soon it will be going to sleep, so it stops releasing cortisol and you start to feel tired.
Your brain still works in the same way when you are an adult.
Having a consistent bedtime routine will help to improve your sleep cycle. This routine can be completely tailored to you, as long as it helps you feel relaxed.
You could start by brushing your teeth, washing your face and performing your skin care routine, then reading in bed.
Using a sunset/sunrise light-up alarm clock can also be great as the body’s natural sleep cycle responds to light. These light-up alarms gradually reduce the amount of light in the room when set to go down, then they will wake you up easier in the morning as the light gradually increases.
#5 Avoid caffeine or cigarettes
The caffeine found in coffee, tea, fizzy drinks and other energy-boosting drinks is wonderful for keeping you awake at night. Caffeine blocks the sleep promoting receptors in your brain, this is why it stops you from feeling tired.
Alongside blocking these receptors, it also triggers the release of adrenalin. Adrenalin is the hormone linked to the fight or flight response, this means your body becomes more alert as it thinks you are in an emergency situation. This is not what you need before you try to sleep.
Caffeine’s strongest effects happen within the first hour of taking it, however its effects can last up to six hours. So avoiding caffeine six hours before you want to sleep is advisable.
Cigarettes have an addictive substance called nicotine in them. Consuming nicotine within four hours of when you want to sleep will reduce sleep quality and cause you to be awake at night.
Nicotine triggers an artificial release of serotonin, dopamine and other neurotransmitters, normally these make us feel happy, however excess fluctuations in them will affect a person’s sleep-wake cycle.
Due to nicotine being addictive, your body can experience a nicotine withdrawal halfway through the night, causing you to wake up due to the decrease in those neurotransmitters.
Alongside the nicotine, the smoke itself also irritates the tissues in the nose and throat, causing them to swell and reduce airflow.
Maintaining a healthy night time routine is essential to having a good night’s sleep. There may be days where you can get by with a poor routine and sleep schedule, but in the long term it will start to affect the quality of your sleep.
Building in a healthy night time routine can greatly improve your sleep, and your quality of life.