Brand and Communications Manager, Sian Grace, explains how to get the best night’s sleep and why it’s important.
Sleeping badly and poor well-being often go hand in hand.
A bad night’s sleep can make you feel tired and irritable, and if it becomes a long-term problem, it can become a source of worry or stress.
If you’re already worried about issues in your life or you feel stressed, it can cause sleep problems – creating a vicious cycle.
A restless night’s sleep or lack of sleep can also impact your physical wellbeing.
While you’re asleep, lots of important restorative physiological processes take place to help your body keep running smoothly. Lack of sleep has also been linked to an increased risk of obesity and heart disease.
But there is good news. You can improve your chances of a better night’s sleep by creating a bedtime routine focused on sleep hygiene.
What is sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene simply means, the habits or things that you do before going to bed that will help you to get a restful night’s sleep.
A good sleep hygiene routine can help to create the right conditions to help you not only fall asleep in the first place, but also to stay asleep.
Below are seven ways you can incorporate good sleep hygiene into your bedtime routine.
Seven tips for a better bedtime routine
Build a bed-sleep connection
Only use your bed for the reasons it was intended for. If you’re working from home, don’t do it from your bed. The more you use your bed for other things – eating, paying bills, using the laptop etc. – the more your brain will stop associating the bed with sleep and rest.
Get into a regular rhythm
Go to bed and wake up at the same time, or as close as you can get, every day, even on your days off and at weekends. Building a regular cycle of sleeping and waking will help to train your body to know when it’s expected to be resting.
Say no to the nightcap
It can be tempting to have an alcoholic drink just before bed, many people think it will help them to relax and get to sleep. But while a glass of wine or spirit might help you to nod off, it won’t make for a restful night and any sleep you do have is likely to be poor quality.
Create the right environment
If you’re too hot or too cold, or the room is too bright, or there is too much noise – you’re not going to sleep well. Take steps to make sure you can create the right conditions for you; have blankets or the window open, invest in earplugs, buy an eye mask or use blackout blinds.
Exercise during the day
Doing some physical activity during the day can help you feel ready for sleep by the time you go to bed. This doesn’t need to be anything overly strenuous, and anything particularly high-energy should be done earlier in the day to avoid over-stimulating your body before sleep.
Have a relaxing ritual
Doing something you find restorative just before going to bed can help the body and mind prepare for sleep. Create a bedtime ritual that you find relaxing. This could be a bath, meditation, breathing exercises, some gentle stretches – or whatever works best for you.
If you can’t sleep, get up
If you go to bed and find you can’t sleep, don’t just lie there and keep trying. That will only fuel your frustration that you’re not asleep, and keep you awake! It’s much more effective to get up and do something relaxing or boring, before going back to bed and trying again.
Getting a good night’s sleep is a simple way to improve how you feel, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. With these tips you can establish a positive bedtime routine that will allow you to reap the rewards that quality sleep can have on your overall well-being.
For more advice on how to stay well, visit our dedicated wellbeing page.