Learn the secret to good sleep. These tips will help you get a better night sleep and wake up more energetic and productive.
Blue light. Not only is watching TV, using your tablet, playing on your computer stimulating of your mind, which in itself is going to stop you sleeping, but devices such as these emit blue/blue-green light which has been shown to suppress the release of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Therefore stop using electronic devices with screens at least 30 minutes before lights out time.
Quiet mind. A prerequisite for getting a good night’s sleep is a quiet mind. Thus a 45 minute wind-down before bed will help put your mind and body in the correct state for going to sleep. Put aside the cares and worries of the day and do something calm and relaxing. It does not really matter what you do to relax because whatever works for you to quieten your mind will help you get to sleep.
The 8 hours myth. One of the biggest myths about sleep is that we all need approx. 8 hours. Sleep need is genetically determined like height, just as there are short people and tall people there are short sleepers and long sleepers anywhere from 3-11 hours a night can be considered normal for an adult the important thing is to get the right amount of sleep for you. Essentially this is the amount of sleep you need to feel awake throughout the day. If you are sleepy during the day you are probably not getting enough sleep.
Don’t try. The harder you try to fall asleep the less likely you are in fact to do so. You cannot find sleep you have to let sleep find you. Tossing and turning in bed getting ever more wound up endlessly repeating to yourself ‘I must get to sleep, I must get to sleep’ isn’t going to help. If you haven’t fallen asleep within 30 minutes at the start of the night get up, do something else and go back to bed when you feel sleepy again. The same applies if you have been awake for 20 minutes during the night. If when you go back to bed and you still do not fallen asleep, repeat this procedure.
Temperature During the night you need to lose about 0.5oC of body temperature in order to get good sleep. You lose this temperature primarily out of your head as this is the bit that sticks out from under your duvet. Therefore the bedroom needs to be cool, under the covers can be warm as long as the bedroom is cool to facilitate the loss of body heat. This is also one of the reasons why big meals or excessive alcohol late in the evening disturbs sleep because you have to burn off the calories, which produces more body heat.
Exercise Exercise is good for helping you sleep not because it has any direct effect on sleep but because the best way to get to sleep is at night and to be awake during the day. Exercise is a good way of being awake and if done outside means you also get exposure to sunlight, the strongest signal that it is day. As long as you wind down sufficiently you can also exercise up to about 2 hours prior to lights out time without out it negatively impacting your sleep.
Bed. One of the key factors in getting good sleep is a big, comfortable bed. If you sleep in a standard UK double bed with another adult you will each have 9ins less space to sleep in that a child has in a standard single. Therefore the minimum sensible size of bed for 2 adults would be a 6ft, super king, bed. Bed comfort is completely subjective and so you do have to actually have to lie on the bed to judge whether it is right for you. A good bed salesperson will help guide you towards the right bed for you. Try out www.evemattress.co.uk who have created the world’s perfect mattress. We also highly recommend www.themattressreviewer.com if you want to compare more brands.
Sleep deprivation. Even small amounts of sleep deprivation can have a significant effect on cognitive performance, for example being awake for just 16 hours affects your ability to drive a car to the same degree as being over the drink driving limit. Sleepy drivers now kill more people on Europe’s roads that drunk drivers. The worst times for accidents are between 2am-7am and mid-afternoon.