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Sleep Tips

Sleep tips

10 tips for better sleep

1.       Set an alarm to go to bed

If you find yourself constantly working late into the night and feeling slightly wired… or falling asleep on the couch when you’re watching TV and waking up feeling jetlagged, then set an alarm to go to bed.  Often, waking up earlier the next morning to work or saving your favourite TV programme for the weekend will give you extra time to wind down earlier before bed and probably give you a much better night’s sleep.

 2.       Resist the urge to snooze

Not a morning person? That doesn’t mean that snoozing when your alarm clock goes off is doing you any favours, as any tiny amounts of sleep that you get between your alarm buzzing is not high-quality sleep. If anything, the snooze button often interrupts REM sleep and makes you feel groggier than if you had woken up during other stages of sleep. You don’t have to launch out of bed; simply skip the snooze all together and set your alarm for slightly later to reap the benefits.

 3.       Keep your bedroom dark

Even the faintest glow – usually from your cell phone or another electronic appliance can mess with your sleep. Dim the lights and power down all electronic devices – cell phones, lap tops and TVs… all of which should ideally be outside the bedroom – an hour before bedtime. As a bare minimum, cover them so that the light doesn’t bother you or try out a comfortable eye mask. Likewise, if the sun rising causes you to wake up earlier in summer, invest in some good black out curtains, which should make all the difference.

 4.       Exercise regularly, just not too late

Numerous studies have shown that people who engage in regular exercise, sleep better than those who don’t. The good news is that just by adding a few minutes of physical exercise to your day can make a difference to your sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, try to schedule your exercise for the morning… or at least for the late afternoon or early evening, so that you don’t feel ‘revved up’ just before bedtime.

 5.       Ban pets from the bed(room)

Although you love cuddling your pets in bed, every time they purr or move, you are likely to be woken up. Add to that a probably already-small bed, thanks to your partner next to you, and your shut eye will take a back seat. In addition, cats and dogs can bring dust and tiny mites into your bedroom, which can further agitate people who suffer from allergies. Rather keep all pets out of your bedroom entirely so that everyone can enjoy a good night’s rest.

 6.       Invest in the right mattress

If you find yourself constantly tossing and turning (or simply complaining of a sore back), it might not be you… but your mattress instead. An uncomfortable mattress – because it is too hard, too soft, too old… or simply too small – might be the source of your sleepless nights. If you’ve had your mattress for five to ten years, it might be time to upgrade it. Spend some time doing some research (both online and lying on physical mattresses) before you make the investment to something new.

 7.       Try separate blankets on a shared bed

If you always feel cold in bed, while your partner feels hot, or if one of you is constantly stealing the covers, it might be time to change up your linen situation to suit everyone’s preferences. Start with a fitted sheet for the bed, then use twin-size flat sheets and blankets so that both of you can have the best conditions for better shut eye.  From there, simply cover the bed with a light comforter or quilt to dress up the bed.

 8.       Have a hot bath or shower

A long soak in the tub or a quick shower before bed does two things. It raises your body temperature slightly, then cools down quickly as you hop out, which mimics the natural drop in body temperature caused by the brain as it gets ready for bed. It also allows you to ‘decompress’ slightly and ‘wash the day off’ you, so you feel more relaxed before bed. You might find that you fall asleep quicker – and have better quality sleep – after this.

 9.       Write down what is bothering you

If you’ve tried other relaxation techniques, it might be a racing mind that is keeping you awake. Every evening, ‘download’ your day onto paper. Include events that had a significant impact on you and include how they made you feel. You will soon notice common patterns or triggers. Seeing things written down helps to clear your mind of mental clutter, but also helps your brain to come up with solutions for problems – and you will more than likely enjoy a better night’s sleep. Keeping a pen and paper next to your bed will also help with any middle-of-the-night brainstorm ideas or overthinking sessions.

 10.   Get out of bed if you really can’t sleep

If all else fails and you end up lying awake for hours, then get out bed. Continuing to lie in bed and willing yourself to sleep − while you simultaneously count down how few hours’ sleep you are getting before your dreaded alarm goes − off only stresses you out more. Get out of bed and do something relaxing that does not involve bright light; reading in another room is an excellent choice. Then simply head back to sleep when you feel tired again.

Dial a Bed - 2017