Comfort is key
From luscious bedroom rugs through to superior memory foam bedding boarded on a cosy bed, ensuring that your body is comfortable, even before you hit the bedroom, is key for a quality night’s sleep. Although it is generally thought that the length of sleep determines how good it is, it is in fact quality that takes precedence over the hours that we spend in slumberland. By ensuring that your body goes through the necessary sleep phases, it means that your body can properly repair muscles and bones, stimulate the appropriate levels of fat burning, and control the appetite and hunger hormones.
Keep in sync with your body’s sleep-wake cycle
One of the most important strategies for better sleep is to keep in sync with your body’s circadian rhythms. By going to sleep at the same time every day you can help optimise your body clock. Go to bed when you know you’re tired and you should be able to wake up naturally — without an alarm clock. Sleep experts consider the presence of an alarm clock to be the sign that you need to go to bed earlier. By avoiding sleeping in on weekends, and only napping for 15 to 20 minutes, you can help adhere to your natural sleeping rhythm.
Food and drink play major roles in sleep
Although most people are well aware that both caffeine and nicotine can play roles in disrupting sleep, there are other factors that can lead to an evening of tossing and turning. Large meals that are both rich and heavy can severely change how your body rests, as can spicy or particularly acidic food. For those who tend to enjoy nightcaps before bed, significant research has been carried out in the study of how alcohol affects sleep.
In a review of 27 studies, it was found that although alcohol might help people fall asleep quickly, and even more deeply for a short period of time, it reduces Rapid Eye Movement (REM) cycles.
Embrace the darkness
Controlling your exposure to light both during the day and at night is important for a good night’s sleep. By allowing natural light into your home you can help maintain melatonin levels, which are hormones controlled by lights, and help regulate the sleep-wake cycle. As the evening slowly unfurls it’s best to avoid backlit devices such as phones and tablets, as well as late night television, as each one of them suppresses melatonin levels. As for the bedroom, it’s important to try and make it as dark as possible to ensure a good night’s sleep. Heavy curtains and shades to block light from windows work a treat. If that isn’t an option, a sleep mask could be the perfect solution for sleep issues.