How to get a good night’s sleep:
Sleep matters! A lot! According to experts at Loughborough University’s Clinical Sleep Research Unit, sleep – along with diet and exercise – is one of the factors supporting and affecting our health and wellbeing. Yet, many of us don’t get enough sleep.
The past year has caused even more sleepless nights for many. Health and financial concerns, not to mention the isolation and loneliness, are chasing sleep away for some people.
Ironically, chronic lack of sleep can lead to more of the problems that stop you from sleeping in the first place. Lack of sleep can lead to high blood pressure, weight gain and even mental health problems.
We spoke to Honley’s sleep experts, Sophie and Adam, who run the family business Sleep Matters on Huddersfield Road. Here are their top tips for a good night’s sleep.
Top 5 tips for a good night’s sleep
1. Have a bedtime routine
Try to keep regular sleeping hours, going to bed and getting up at the same or similar time each day. This helps your body adjust to a regular pattern. As part of your bedtime routine, wind down or relax. A warm (not hot) bath can help. Clear your mind by writing ‘to do’ lists for the next day and read a book or listen to relaxing music can help distract your mind.
2. Avoid strenuous exercise and screens
While light exercise such as yoga or stretching exercises can help with relaxation, strenuous exercise before bed can set you buzzing with adrenaline making sleep almost impossible.
Computers, TVs and phones emit blue light, which fools our body into thinking its daylight and that we need to be alert. Try to avoid checking your news or social media feed in bed or just before bed. As well as the light keeping you awake, you might start worrying about the things you read.
3. Cut the caffeine
Most of us are well aware that a mug of strong caffeine-fuelled coffee before bed is likely to prevent any chance of sleep. But do you know how long caffeine actually stays in your system? After 4-6 hours your body has only removed half the caffeine in a cup of coffee. That means when you go to bed, the caffeine you’ve consumed during the day could still be affecting your sleep. Caffeine can shorten the time you sleep for and reduce the time you spend in deep sleep. It means you might wake up feeling groggy and in need of a caffeine fix (which doesn’t replace sleep by the way!) and the cycle starts again.
Make sure your mattress suits your posture. That way, you’ll be comfortable and won’t wake up with niggles or aches from your mattress causing your spine to be out of line. Sophie at Sleep Matters explained:
“The best way to make sure you have the right mattress is to try before you buy. We encourage all our customers to lie on our mattresses for as long as they want. We’ll check their alignment and posture and make sure the mattress isn’t too soft, or too hard for them.”
We’re all different and the same is true when it comes to our mattress preferences. It sometimes means that we need a different support in our mattress to our partner. Yet, most couples plump for a single mattress, which usually means, one or both of them have poor sleep posture and alignment that can cause problems with sleeping.
“This is a particular problem if one partner is considerably lighter than the other. In that situation, you have the option to choose a dual mattress with each side having a different firmness, so you can both enjoy a good night’s sleep,” said Sophie.
If you’ve noticed that your mattress is getting a little saggy, or you’re waking up with more aches and pains, it might be a sign your mattress needs changing, so pop along to Sleep Matters for advice on how to choose the best mattress for you.