Sunday, November 25, 2012

Top 10 Tips For a Good Night's Sleep

I'm not a bad sleeper but I'm not a brilliant one either.
I'm not a late night person but seem to have developed an awful habit of staying up until past midnight.
I am aware that I don't get enough sleep & rarely wake feeling rested.
I also sometimes feel that since I've been a parent, I've never had a good night's sleep!

I'm aware that it's something I should think more about and so, in the interests of writing this piece, I read as much as I could about how to increase your sleep, sleep tips, your sleep environment.

There is certainly a lot of advice & information out there. 

I have taken information & tips from different websites, The Sleep Council & various magazines and come up with the following "Good Sleep Suggestions"....

1. Have a consistent sleeping & waking time - I read several times that sleeping in is in fact sometimes the worst thing you can do, your body will respond much better if you go to bed and get up at pretty much the same time each day. A "sleep schedule" is essential - this applies as much to adults as it does for children.

2. Create a bedtime ritual - try to stick to the same bedtime preparation each night. If you are able to take time getting ready for bed, your body will naturally wind down & will recognise that you are preparing to sleep.

3. Reduce screen time before bed - every website I looked at said to avoid technology in bed and not to have a television in the bedroom.
I will often be on my laptop reading or working until late at night & then read my iPad in bed even after I've turned out my light!

4. Create the right sleeping environment - a good comfortable bed and not too much clutter - see below for some more tips on this.

5. Pay attention to your caffeine intake - we all know people who can drink coffee late at night and still go straight to sleep - my own husband is one of them - but the recommendation is not to drink coffee after 8pm latest. If you like a hot drink late at night, choose hot milk or camomile tea.

6.   Temperature - both room temperature & body temperature. Your bedroom should not be too hot, the cooler the better. You also shouldn't have a hot bath right before bed as body needs to be at a particular (cooler) temperature to sleep soundly, a warm bath is best.

7. Keep your bedroom dark - I read lots of suggestions about light dimmers and different lighting settings in order to make your brain aware that sleep is approaching. Blackout curtains/blinds or a sleep mask are also a good idea in order to keep your body clock regular.

8. Switch Off - literally. Don't watch TV or work online up until you go to sleep....take sufficient time to wind down. Find an activity which helps you to relax before bedtime.

9. Good pillows - an essential as far as I am concerned & the biggest reason for not sleeping well!! If I go away & I can take my own pillow, then I do. That said, I do not have good pillows right now & it's driving me crazy. Pillows should be firm but not too firm and your head & neck should be roughly in a straight line.

10. Exercise promotes quality sleep & Only sleep when you're tired - there is nothing worse than going to bed early and then lying awake for hours. Exercise will help ensure that your body is physically tired and therefore ready for sleep. Do make sure that you don't exercise right before sleeping, have enough time to wind down.

Other Things I Learned :

For an adult, 7-9 hours of sleep is recommended each night - less than 6 hours a night is considered partial sleep deprivation.

Quality of sleep is just as important as quantity.

Creating a calm environment helps to ensure undisturbed sleep.... 
as does making sure you don't have children or pets in your bed with you :) 

Sleep/energy balance is really important - lack of sleep may disrupt appetite, promote greater food intake, reduce energy expenditure and change body composition to favour more fat storage.
Sleep deprivation can be linked to obesity.

Good Feng Shui Bedroom Tips

no TV, computer or exercise equipement in the bedroom
open the windows - good air quality is essential
have good lighting - candles are apparently even better
good paint colours - the best are "skin colours" - pale white to dark brown
choose images/pictures carefully - choose those which reflect happiness or things that you would like to have happening in your life
your bed should be approachable from both sides & should have space underneath it
all doors in the bedroom should be closed - this includes en-suite & cupboard doors.

I found some fabulous "10 Best Sleep Inducing Treats" here  - I often use Aromatherapy Associates essential oils and their Support Supersensitive Massage & Body Oil is a wonderfully relaxing and comforting product for night-time.

I also recently bought a mattress protector which provides an extra quilted layer underneath my sheets for comfort. 

Any sleep tips that you'd like to share? 



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