Winter is on the way and while the nights are drawing in and the mornings are darker, that doesn’t mean we sleep any better.
It is thought that on average, adults need eight hours of sleep a night. The thing is, this isn’t the reality for many of us and having that figuring hanging around in your head at 2am as you count sheep, isn’t helpful.
We have had a look at some tips to help you get the rest you need to keep healthy this winter.
Keep it clean
Spring clean your bedroom so you have a peaceful haven for sleep. Fresh bedding, decent curtains, blackout blinds, soothing smells and a fresh carpet can all enhance how you rest.
You might not think it, but if your bedroom is a mess, your sleep patterns might be too. Piles of books on your bedside table, washing all over the floor and old cups of tea on the table are not conducive to a restful night. We aren’t saying go minimal but be mindful that your bedroom is a place of calm, not calamity.
Check the temperature
If you are too hot or too cold you won’t sleep so aim for a room temperature of 16 – 18° C (60-65° F) and as the nights get cooler add a warmer duvet or thicker PJs.
How is your mattress?
Having the right mattress can make all the difference to how you sleep. An old, sagging mattress or one where you can feel the springs as you roll over, won’t help you rest and may actually keep you awake and cause aches and pains. Why not pop into your local bed shop and give a few mattresses a go, it could be the change you have been looking for.
Turn it off
We know some people think this doesn’t make a difference but turning off technology can only be a good thing when it comes to sleep. Avoid mobiles, laptops and TVs and use an alarm clock for waking up. You may also want to consider ramping down the use of devices an hour or two before you go to bed to give your mind time to wind down and relax.
Think about what you eat
We all know that big meal and strong coffee at 10pm isn’t going to help us sleep. We suggest avoiding stimulants like caffeine and cigarettes in the evening, and if you do want a sleepy snack, try eating turkey, chicken, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or peanuts as they contain tryptophan which the brain turns into the serotonin that helps us sleep. A hot milky drink or herbal tea, such as camomile, can also help us get ready for bed.
Before you settle down
A warm bath with lavender oil, a little stretching, playing music and reading can all help you get into a relaxed mind-set and allow you to let go of the stresses and worries of the day.
The 20-minute rule
If you go to bed when you are tired but are still awake after twenty minutes, get up and do something else. Don’t turn on your phone, instead use low lighting to help you read, practise some yoga, listen to a guided mediation or have a warm drink. When you start to feel relaxed, go back to bed and give sleep another go.
If you still find your mind racing and sleep avoiding you, maybe talk to your GP and talk about what’s going on.