How well you sleep is a function of quantity and quality. You are meant to wake up feeling refreshed and for 90% of the population, that means 7-9 hours of sleep each night and breathing well while you are asleep.
Below are 10 sleep tips for you to implement to improve your sleep quality and help you achieve a consistently good night’s sleep.
1. Prioritise sleep
If you don’t prioritise sleep and take it seriously, it’s unlikely you’ll take the necessary steps to change your habits. Sleep is your built-in life-support system.
2. Develop a sleep routine
We love routine, and our bodies and mind respond well to it. Going to bed at the same time and waking at the same time also helps establish a better routine for a consistently good night’s sleep.
3. Bring awareness to and adjust food and drink intake before sleep
Don’t eat for two hours before going to bed, and avoid eating heavy or spicy foods. Caffeine is a stimulant and counter-productive to restful sleep. Avoid or limit alcohol. While it may help you to fall asleep more easily, it doesn’t allow for restful and regenerative sleep.
4. Light and electromagnetic radiation
Exposure to light affects the hormone melatonin, which prepares your body for sleep. That includes blue light from electronic devices. Your bedroom should be dark, and you shouldn’t have a digital clock sitting by your bed with a green light. TVs or electronic equipment, especially your mobile phone, should be at least within two metres of the bed.
This poses a challenge in our urban environment with noisy neighbours, street noise and even housemates.The most common and annoying sleep-disturbing noise is a snoring partner, often dismissed or trivialised. It’s serious and can have a profound impact on your health, too.
6. Sleeping position
Stomach sleeping is a problem for the head, neck, jaw, and lower-back muscles, as well as affecting your airway. Sleeping on your back may result in your lower jaw and tongue restricting or blocking the airway.Side sleeping is best.
Feeling too hot or too cold affects the quality of your sleep, so choose to bed that’s appropriate.
8. Environmental toxins
Mould can be a serious issue, with one of the first symptoms being fatigue that is not improved by rest. Dust mites are the most common cause of childhood asthma and allergies worldwide. And affects adults too.
The regular use of a high-efficiency particulate air filter vacuum cleaner and placing the bedding in the sunshine are great ways to control this common problem. Once you eliminate these moulds or dust mites and you will breathe and sleep better because of it.
9. Be positive
Finish the day by describing or journaling three positive events, no matter how small or insignificant. Don’t try to solve the problems of the world just before going to sleep, and don’t check email or Facebook — these are far too stimulating.
Sex has a positive effect on sleep. It lowers the stress hormone cortisol and increases the ‘hugging’ hormone, oxytocin. Sex is a wonderful release of energy and even counts as exercise! It increases oestrogen levels, which can enhance a woman’s REM cycle for a deeper, better night’s sleep.
Developing healthy habits at bedtime may help you get a good night’s sleep.
Implementing some simple steps to improving sleep and looking into these 10 sleep tips will set you up for a consistently good night’s sleep.
For further reading on Sleep, we recommend Why We Sleep by Dr Matthew Walker.