With increasing stress levels in every aspect of our lives, from environmental to monetary concerns, many of us may be finding it tricker to sleep.
A survey of 1,200 Americans by the U.S. News and World Report* shows that over half of respondents experienced insomnia in 2023 – so how can we prioritize sleeping better in the New Year to improve our wellness?
5 ways to prioritize sleep in the New Year
1. Use the right mattress
‘People have different requirements based on their size, shape, weight, sleeping positions, and so on – it’s impossible to approach mattress buying with a one-size-fits-all mindset which is why it’s important to think about your needs before your purchase.
‘A good quality mattress should gently support the whole body and provide postural alignment by keeping the spine in a neutral position,’ he explains. For this reason, it is important to go and test out a mattress before you invest or ensure that you pick a delivered mattress that offers a long trial period to help your body adjust.
If you can’t switch out your mattress just yet, then consider picking up a good mattress topper to help tailor your existing bedding to your needs in the meantime.
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Adam Black is the co-founder of bedding brand, Button & Sprung. His involvement in the luxury bed and mattress sector began with co-founding Feather & Black in 2002.
2. Supplement support with the best pillows and duvet
It is not just your mattress that needs to be supportive of your new sleeping goals, but your pillows and duvet too, continues sleep expert Greg Potter PhD from The Fine Bedding Company. 'When choosing the best pillow, it is important to select an option that allows you to maintain a ‘neutral spine’. This is the position of your neck when standing tall,’ Greg explains.
‘If you’re a side sleeper, you may need a slightly thicker pillow to help you to maintain your position. If you’re a back or front sleeper, opt for a softer or memory foam pillow that can mold to your neck and head.’
Your duvet or comforter may not support your body, but it does regulate your temperature, helping you to sleep more comfortably, Greg continues. ‘I'd advise having a different duvet for winter and summer,’ he says. ‘Lower Tog duvets are best for spring and summer, while higher Tog duvets will keep you cozy during the colder nights.’
Greg values helping people feel great and do good. He helps to empower people to make simple and sustainable lifestyle changes that add years to their lives and life to their years. With a PhD in sleep, circadian rhythms, nutrition, and metabolism, Greg is also a qualified personal trainer with years of experience in coaching.
3. Remove bedtime distractions
If you have been struggling to sleep, removing any distractions from your space is a must. While we may hate to hear it, this means removing our phones and TVs from our sleep spaces.
Gillian Gudgeon, APDO member and Founder of Restore the Calm explains that getting rid of this tech not only frees up space but allows us to be more mindful when in the bedroom. ‘The science is compelling,’ she says. ‘It disrupts your sleep cycle, over-stimulates your mind, doesn’t foster intimacy, and televisions can bring along pain caused by poor posture when watching.’
Try to cut out blue light for at least one hour before sleep. This could mean swapping scrolling for reading, or even settling into a cozy corner to partake in a manual hobby such as a craft before heading up to bed for the night to help destress.
Gillian helps her clients declutter their homes with peace and calmness in mind, curating a functioning home that helps them to find order in everyday chaos.
4. Choose a calming palette
It is not just your tech that can be a distraction in your bedroom, but your choice of decor too, Camilla Clarke, creative director at Albion Nord, continues. It is best to pick the most relaxing colors to make a bedroom cozy and promote better rest:
‘For bedrooms, avoid bold, elaborate patterns and prints. Instead, opt for a variety of luxuriously textured natural materials such as wools, linens, and silks to help create interest, warmth, and comfort,’ Camilla recommends. ‘Your bedroom should be the ultimate sanctuary space. We fully embrace cool and calming colors, particularly soft blues and deep olive greens. Pairing these shades with warm lighting creates a feeling of calmness and serenity.’
Creative director at London-based interior design firm, Albion Nord, Camilla Clarke has worked at some of London’s leading interior design practices. Clarke uses her artistic background to influence her interior designs on everything from contemporary penthouses to Georgian homes.
5. Make your bedroom smell relaxing to promote sleep
We are likely all aware by now that a lavender pillow spray can help you sleep, but have you considered making your whole room sleep nice for sleep and relaxation?
Christina Heiser, in-house sleep expert at Saatva, the Smarter Luxury Sleep Company, explains that fragrance layering can contribute to the perfect sleep environment, helping to lull you off and keep you asleep until your alarm in the morning:
‘It's no surprise that chamomile essential oil is a popular choice for promoting sleep, given the calming effects of chamomile tea. A study published in the Journal of Aromatherapy examined the impact of Roman chamomile on mood and alertness. The results showed that participants who inhaled chamomile became more relaxed and drowsy.’
Why do I still feel tired after 8 hours of sleep?
There are several reasons why you still feel tired after eight hours of sleep, such as not having restful sleep (i.e. waking up throughout the night or tossing and turning), sleep debt meaning you are still tired from previous nights of poor sleep, and medical conditions that leave you feeling fatigued – ranging from serious conditions such as sleep apnea to easier-to-rectify issues such as vitamin deficiencies.
Should I go back to bed if I still feel tired?
If you wake up still tired, then it is okay to hit snooze on occasion when you have the time. However, it is best to address why you are waking up feeling tired and set a more efficient sleep schedule to help prevent feelings of fatigue and an endless cycle of using the snooze button.
Is there a way to make waking up easier?
When prioritizing your sleep, you may put more emphasis on nailing your bedtime routine for the best night’s sleep than your morning schedule. However Georgia Metcalfe, founder of French Bedroom, suggests that you shouldn’t end your perfect sleep routine with your alarm going off:
‘Turn off the alarm and pop on a cozy bedside lamp whilst you take time to adjust to your surroundings in the comfort of your warm luxury bed linen. Use this silence to roll and stretch whilst you settle into a breathing pattern and prepare your body to carry you throughout your day,’ she recommends.
Psychotherapist Bal Pardesi at Evolve Hypnotherapy also suggests that ‘a bit of meditation before you face the day will leave you grounded and ready to face the challenges ahead,’ helping you to feel better rested.
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Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.
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