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Key Ways to Get a Better Night's Sleep

25 Jul 2023, 3:18 PM

Key ways to get a Better Nights Sleep

Sleep is a vital element of our lives that impacts our mood, productivity, physical health, and overall quality of life. But in our fast-paced world, many of us struggle to attain the right quantity and quality of sleep needed for optimal health.

We spend up to a third of our lives sleeping, and yet the importance of a good night's sleep is often overlooked. Many people tend to prioritise work, family, hobbies, or social life, leaving sleep as something that just happens at the end of the day. However, quality sleep isn't an indulgence but a necessity for our bodies and minds to function at their best.

To assist you in your journey towards healthier sleep, we'll explore the key ways that you can enhance your sleep quality and the changes you can make to leave you feeling refreshed and reenergised each morning. From learning how to switch off from the daily grind to improving your sleeping environment, we've got you covered.

Switching-Off Before Bed

In our constantly connected, always-on society, finding the 'off' switch can be a real challenge. The blurring lines between work and home, the incessant notifications, and the buzz of social media, all make it harder for our minds to wind down, disconnect, and transition into sleep mode.

So, how do you cultivate the ability to switch off and prepare your mind for sleep before bed?

Firstly, it's crucial to create a buffer between your daytime activities and sleep time - a sort of 'power-down' hour, if you will. This could involve limiting the use of electronic devices, including smartphones, laptops, and TVs, at least an hour before sleeping. The blue light emitted from these devices can interfere with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, tricking our brains into thinking it's still daytime and keeping us alert when we should be winding down.

Instead of reaching for your phone or tablet, consider relaxing activities such as reading a book, listening to calming music, or indulging in a warm bath.

Managing worries and stress before hitting bed can also significantly improve your sleep quality. Whether it's a challenging day at work, family pressures, financial stress, or health concerns, it's essential to develop strategies to put these worries aside before bedtime. You might consider relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, or mindfulness meditation to combat stress and wind down.

Improving Your Sleeping Environment

Your sleeping environment plays a significant role in determining how well and how much you sleep, and numerous factors contribute to making your bedroom a sleep-friendly environment. It's all about creating a setting that cues your body to relax and encourages uninterrupted sleep.

To start with, your room should mimic a cave - cool, dark, and quiet. Our bodies are designed to drop in temperature during sleep, so maintaining a cooler room can facilitate this natural process and help signal your body that it's time to sleep.

Next, it can be beneficial to consider light exposure. Excess light, whether from outdoor street lamps or electronic devices, can interfere with your body's production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Using heavy curtains, blackout shades, or an eye mask can block out disruptive light, helping to set the right circadian rhythm and improve your sleep quality.

The quality and suitability of your bed and mattress also play an indispensable role in your sleep quality. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing the right bed and mattress - it's about individual comfort and support. Any high-quality mattress should provide adequate support to your spine, maintaining its natural curve and alignment.

If your mattress is older than seven years or you regularly wake up with stiffness or aches, it's time to consider a replacement. Read our useful guide on how to choose a mattress so you can find the perfect fit for you!

Lastly, consider the role of aesthetics and cleanliness in your bedroom. A clean, organised, and pleasing bedroom can help create a calming atmosphere, promoting relaxation and better sleep. Be mindful of clutter, decor, and even the colours in your room. For example, softer and cooler colours are generally more relaxing, which is perfect for creating an appropriate sleeping environment.

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Introducing a Sleep Schedule

As creatures of habit, humans naturally crave consistency. Our bodies function best on a regular routine, and sleep is no exception. By introducing a sleep schedule and sticking to it, you can significantly improve both the quantity and quality of your sleep.

Setting a regular bedtime and wake-up time can help synchronise your internal clock with the external environment, promoting better sleep onset and quality. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends or holidays.

It's also important to consider the recommended sleep duration for your age group. For adults, including older adults, it's generally recommended to aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Getting too little or too much sleep can have negative impacts on your health and well-being.

Creating a bedtime routine can help signal your body that it's time to wind down and get ready for sleep. This could include habits like reading a book, listening to calming music, or practising relaxation exercises. By repeating the same activities each night, you're conditioning your body to associate these actions with sleep, which can help you fall asleep more easily.

Itís also important to try to avoid long naps, especially in the late afternoon or evening, as they can disrupt your sleep schedule and make it harder for you to fall asleep at night. If you feel the need to nap, limit it to 20 to 30 minutes, and preferably take it in the early afternoon.

Understanding the Power Of Food & Drinks

What we consume throughout the day, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime, also has a significant impact on our sleep. Certain foods and drinks can stimulate us, making it hard to fall asleep, while others can induce relaxation, making it easier to drift off to dreamland.

Understanding the effects of our diet on sleep can be a powerful tool in improving the quality and duration of our rest.

Stimulants like caffeine and nicotine can interfere with our ability to fall asleep. Found in coffee, tea, chocolate, certain medications, and, of course, cigarettes, these substances can keep you awake and disrupt your sleep patterns. While individual responses can vary, it's generally recommended to avoid caffeine for at least six hours before bed and avoid nicotine, especially near bedtime.

Eating large meals too close to bedtime can also be a huge factor in disrupting your sleep. The process of digestion is active and can keep you awake. Moreover, lying down after eating a lot can cause discomfort and symptoms of heartburn, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Try to have dinner at least two to three hours before bed, and make it a lighter meal, if possible.

On the other hand, certain foods and drinks can promote sleep. Tryptophan, an amino acid involved in the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, is found in foods like turkey, milk, and nuts. Foods rich in magnesium, such as spinach and pumpkin seeds, may also improve sleep quality, especially for those who have insomnia. Beverages like chamomile tea have been traditionally used for their calming and sleep-promoting effects too.

Hydration also deserves a mention. While staying hydrated throughout the day is essential, try to reduce fluid intake 1-2 hours before bed to minimise nighttime trips to the bathroom.

Lowering Noise Levels

Noise is one of the most common sleep disruptors, and while it's not always within our control, there are effective strategies to manage it and create a quieter sleep environment.

Firstly, try to control the noise within your living space as much as possible. This can mean turning off devices that generate sounds, like TVs and radios, or setting your phone to silent mode during sleep hours. Even the noise of a ticking clock can be disruptive for some people.

Earplugs can also be a simple and effective solution for reducing noise levels. There are many types of earplugs available, and they can significantly dampen sound, especially when you find a pair that fits well and is comfortable for you.

It can even be useful to consider the noise produced by appliances and systems in your home. If a heating system, air conditioning unit, or fridge is particularly noisy, it might be worth seeking maintenance or considering a replacement.

Keep in mind that while a quiet sleep environment is generally beneficial, complete silence is not necessary, or even desirable, for everyone. Some people find certain sounds, like the ticking of a clock or the hum of an electric fan, comforting and sleep-inducing. The key is finding what works best for you, whether that's relative silence or a specific sound landscape.

The Importance of Physical Activity

The relationship between sleep and exercise is reciprocal - not only can a good night's sleep improve your physical performance the next day, but engaging in regular physical activity can also significantly enhance your sleep quality.

Exercise contributes to better sleep by helping regulate your body's circadian rhythm, the internal clock that controls various physiological processes, including your sleep-wake cycle. Regular physical activity, especially when done outside in natural daylight, can help reset this internal clock, promoting alertness during the day and sleepiness at night.

Physical activity also aids in reducing stress and anxiety, which are common culprits behind sleep issues like insomnia. Exercise promotes the release of endorphins, the body's natural mood elevators, and helps reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. So, lace up those shoes, unroll that yoga mat, or dive into the pool, and give your body the gift of movement for the sake of better sleep.

That said, timing is crucial. While everyone's body responds differently, exercising too close to bedtime can interfere with some people's ability to fall asleep. This is because exercise triggers the release of endorphins and raises your body temperature, both of which can leave you feeling energised and alert. As a general rule, try to finish moderate to vigorous workouts at least three hours before bedtime.

Improve Your Sleep Quality Today

Getting a good night's sleep is both an art and a science, incorporating various elements from our daily routines to our physical environment. While sleep needs and preferences can vary greatly among individuals, there are universal strategies that can help us all enhance the quality of our rest.

Finding the right bed and mattress can feel overwhelming, given the plethora of options available. At M6 Beds, we understand this challenge and aim to make your purchasing experience as smooth and straightforward as possible. We offer a wide selection of beds and mattresses from popular brands, catering to diverse needs and preferences.

Browse our premium range of beds and mattresses to find the perfect one for a good nightís sleep.

Alternatively, visit our fully furnished, heated showroom and test them for yourself!

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