Sleep helps the body to rest and repair itself and get ready for the next day, so it's important to sleep well during the cooler months.
Waking up feeling refreshed and well-rested is vital to ensure you can tackle the day ahead.
Here, Chairman of the Sleep Health Foundation, David Hillman, has put together his top ten tips to help you learn how to sleep better naturally.
1. Set the mood for slumber
Your room should be quiet and dark. Before you go to sleep, be sure to turn off the lights and any other stimuli such as the TV and completely close your blinds or curtains. Try to turn off all devices, like you phone or i-pad, at least an hour before you turn the light out.
2. Sleep in a clean and pleasant environment
You know the saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’? Well, a mess-free and uncluttered room will help aide a clear and undistracted mind. Spend just a few minutes each night tidying your bedroom before you get into bed. Instead of throwing your clothes on the floor, hang them up or fold them neatly in a pile to be put away properly later.
3. Get the room temperature right
There’s nothing worse than a freezing cold bedroom at night. An hour before you’re ready to hit the sack, get your room temperature right by closing the windows and adjusting the air conditioner or heater in winter. You’ll sleep better when you have the balance right.
4. Avoid interruptions
Switch your phone to silent mode so if it rings or you get a message you won’t be woken. If your partner is noisy then ear plugs can help block out the snoring or restless noises. Similarly eye masks are a great sleep companion whether at home or away, to help eliminate light and movement.
5. Choose the right bed and bedding
It’s essential to have the right bed and bedding. The beds and bedding at Travelodge Hotels have been specially selected to help you to get a good night’s sleep. Continue this at home by having an expert help you pick your mattress and pillow. You’ll be surprised what a huge difference this can make!
6. Exercise during the say
People who exercise regularly sleep better at night and feel less sleepy during the day. Regular exercise also improves the symptoms of insomnia and increases the amount of time you spend in the deep, restorative stages of sleep. Don't sleep too close to bedtime though, give yourself a break of at least three hours or your body temperature will be elevated and you will find it harder to settle.
7. Limit caffeine and nicotine
Did you know that caffeine can cause sleep probelsmup to ten to twelve hours after drinking it. As can smoking. Try not to eat at least two hours before bed and avoid alcohol as it can interfere with your sleep cycle.
8. Wind down and relax before bed
Have a buffer zone before bedtime. Sort out any problems well before going to bed. This may mean setting aside ‘worry time’ during the day. Use this time to go over the day's activities and work out a plan of action for the next day. Try to avoid using your computer within one hour of bedtime, instead pick up a magazine or book to help take your mind off any problems. Exercise is fine, but not too late in the evening. Find a relaxation technique that works for you.
9. Spend the right amount of time in bed
Most adults need about eight hours sleep every night. Many poor sleepers spend much more than eight hours in bed and this makes fragmented sleep a habit. Except if you have lengthy sleep requirements, limit your time in bed to no more than eight and a half hours. If you often take hours to fall asleep, go to bed later or try reading to help you drift off. Remember that children need more sleep than adults.
10. A deep breathing exercise might help
- Lay down in bed and close your eyes.
- Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
- Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should move very little.
- Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little.
- Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly as you exhale.
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