With warmer nights settling in, getting a good night’s sleep can become a common problem for many of us. Leaving the window open isn’t always an option due to outside noise and even hay fever, meaning it can be tricky to keep your bedroom cool during the night. New research conducted by OTTY Sleep looked to answer the age-old question: how can I sleep better?
HOW TO SLEEP BETTER
Collaborating with experts across various topics, including diet, environment, productivity, mindfulness and scent, the research gives many tips that people can easily action today.
1. EAT BREAKFAST
It’s important to ‘break the fast’ when you wake up to kick your metabolism into gear – as they say, it’s the most important meal of the day.
2. EAT MELATONIN-BOOSTING FOODS
Tomatoes; cherries; bananas; kiwis; oats, such as in porridge; pineapples; flaxseeds; almonds; orange peppers are all high in melatonin.
3. DRINK WARM AND COMFORTING BEVERAGES
Warm milk or chamomile tea are ideal drinks to have before bedtime.
4. TRY NOT TO EAT A LARGE MEAL BEFORE BED
If your digestion system is still working hard it will disrupt your ability to relax into a deep sleep.
5. INVEST IN YOUR BED AND BEDDING
We spend a third of our lives in bed, so a comfortable mattress and supportive pillows can help with good posture, which in turn can help with better sleep.
6. MAKE YOUR ROOM AS DARK AS POSSIBLE
Our skin has light-sensitive cells which can affect our circadian rhythms, so a dark environment is important for sleep, especially as we move towards the lighter months.
7. HAVE A BATH OR SHOWER BEFORE BED
'If you have trouble falling asleep, a warm bath or shower 1-1.5 hours before bed can help as while your core body temperature will heat up during the bath or shower it will cool afterwards and help with falling sleep,' says Angela Foster from Angela Foster Performance.
8. ADJUST YOUR ROOM TEMPERATURE
'Setting the right temperature to help you sleep is really important. Nearly a third of people (32%) believe they sleep better in a cool bedroom between 61-65 degrees Fahrenheit. The reason for this is because sleeping in a cool room can help your body lose heat and therefore induce sleep quicker and more easily,'says Jasmin Lee, Sleep Researcher at Eachnight.
9. SLEEP IN COTTON
'Cotton is the best material to sleep in because it’s soft, comfortable and lets your body still breathe. It also doesn’t weigh your body down, so it is easy to move about during the night, therefore it doesn’t wake you up unnecessarily,' says Jasmin Lee, Sleep Researcher at Eachnight.
10. DON'T WEAR PYJAMAS DURING THE DAY
As you psychologically connect your pyjamas with winding down for bed, you will lose this attachment if you start working or home schooling in them, so make sure you get dressed for your task in the morning.
11. HAVE A DAILY ROUTINE
Routines are important to maintain focus, structure and productivity throughout the day, which can help your brain to wind down once it gets to bedtime.
12. WAKE UP AT 7AM
The early bird catches the worm. Wake up bright and early, say or think of 3 things you are grateful for in your life, and clear your head.
13. EAT LUNCH AT 12.30PM
Make it the largest meal of the day. Food is fuel for the body, so take a full lunch break, eat something nutritious and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
14. EAT DINNER AT 6.30PM.
Avoid eating dinner too late – you should aim for at least 2 to 3 hours before going to bed.
15. GO TO BED AT 10PM
Having a routine with a set wake-up and bedtime will establish a routine and help you to get the optimal amount of sleep.
16. AIM TO GET 7 HOURS OF SLEEP
Various research shows that 7 hours of sleep each night is optimal in aiding alertness and productivity during the day. Too much sleep is one that exceeds nine hours; less than five hours are too few.
17. AVOID SCREEN TIME FOR AN HOUR BEFORE BED
Research has shown phone time can repress melatonin and make it harder for us to fall into a deep sleep.
18. MEDITATE AND PRACTICE MINDFULNESS
Meditation has been shown to improve the length, quality and deepness of sleep, and mindfulness tactics can help us to bring our attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without judgment.
19. MAKE THE MOST OF CALMING SCENTS
Place a few drops of essential oil around you to relax you and act as a comforting reminder in your mind that it’s ok to rest. Lavender, bergamot and geranium scents have been shown to help you relax.
20. LEARN TO ACCEPT THAT POOR SLEEP HAPPENS
We are currently experiencing a global pandemic right now, so try not to put too much pressure on yourself to carry on as normal – remember, nothing about this is normal.