A whopping two thirds (67%) of UK adults suffer from disrupted sleep. And nearly a quarter (23%) manage no more than five hours a night.
Your brain might decide to analyse all the problems of the universe as soon as you hit the pillow. Or it might wake you up at some ungodly hour and will not be convinced to go back to sleep.
Regardless of the type of sleep interruption, it has a huge impact on many areas of your life. This ranges from affecting your immune system to your cognitive function when performing any task.
Luckily, there are a few simple tips you can use to get good quality sleep. Wake up feeling rested, restored, and ready to face the day.
Start a sleep routine and stick to it
If your bedtime is all over the place, it may be contributing to your lack of sleep quality. Without a regular sleep routine, your brain doesn’t consistently get the signal that it’s time to sleep, and your window of opportunity will close.
Aim to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. This will help to train your brain to properly recognise sleep cycles when it’s time to rest, and when you’ve had enough.
Try to avoid long naps (especially in the afternoon) and stick to short power naps instead.
Ease up on the caffeine
Easier said than done for those of us who are fiends for caffeine, but monitoring your intake is vital to a good night’s sleep.
Caffeine can come in many forms from your run of the mill coffee, to that can of soft drink you had with lunch. It can be tempting to use it to replace the energy you’re not getting from sleep but can have both immediate and long-term negative effects on your body.
Try to confine your caffeine intake to before lunch and avoid any caffeinated drinks after midday. This will help your body return to its normal energy levels by time you’re ready for bed.
Keep up with regular exercise
Exercising has an impressive list of benefits and improving your sleep quality is a major one.
Exercise triggers the body to release some of our cortisol build-up (the stress hormone) and helps restore balance to your body’s hormone levels.
Exercise can also leave you feeling energised, so try to get your workout in early if you can, or at least a few hours before bed.
Create an environment that promotes sleep
You may look around your bedroom and start to notice a heap of distractions that affect your sleep. This may be background light/noise from a TV, using the wrong pillow, or a temperature that is too hot or too cold.
Make a list of everything in your environment you think might hinder sleep and start to change or remove them. This might mean replacing your TV with meditation music or leaving your phone out of arm’s reach to remove temptation.
Assess your mattress, covers, and pillows, and work towards finding the right ones to suit you and your sleeping preferences.
Reduce exposure to blue light before bed. Smartphones and computers emit blue light in large amounts, tricking your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and get deep sleep.
This article was originally published in the Town & County magazine for County Durham. Download How To Get Good Quality Sleep in PDF format.