Expert reveals the simple thing stopping a good night’s sleep

If you're among the majority of Aussies battling to get a good night's sleep every night, you may want to try a few simple fixes.

With new research from Signify revealing that 86 per cent of Aussie families are suffering from bedtime anxiety and sleeping issues, causing direct impact to productivity, mood and sense of happiness. One in five (15 per cent) also say it's putting a strain on their personal relationships and working life.

This research found a surprising household item as one the driving factors in creating sleep issues: poor and artificial lighting. From our eyesight to our sleeping patterns, most don’t understand the long-term health benefits that can come from simply changing a lightbulb.

Jaimie Bloch, Clinical Psychologist and Behavioural Specialist, shares some other things you can change to help your sleep, too:

Harsh lighting

"Light filtering into our eyes is what helps set off specific chemicals in our bodies that trigger the sleep/wake cycle, and can be negatively affected by harsh lighting," he Jaimie says. "For those who have a full schedule, that often means staying up later under artificial lighting, which can confuse our natural balance of hormones. High-quality LED lighting, like Philips LED and Hue, is easy on the eyes and has reduced glare, allowing us to wind down and so improve sleep patterns and quality."

Uncomfortable furniture

A relaxing sleep environment helps to improve the shut eye that we get.

"It sounds simple, but many people opt for furniture that is stylish – yet uncomfortable; although it may look aesthetically pleasing, it is not beneficial to the sleep environment," Jaimie explains. 

Not enough access to natural light

Jaimie says that the sun works as a natural cue for our brain and body, allowing a natural chemical release promoting good sleep.

"The circadian rhythm (the body’s natural sleep/wake cycle) is different in every individual, but because we are a species that is active in the day and sleep at night our circadian rhythm is set and triggered by sunrise and sunset," he says. "When you look at the sun, for your body, it's like looking at a clock and checking the time – this process is called entrainment, where your body clock synchronises with the local time."

No alarm clock

Although your weekly sleep in may feel good, it's not doing your sleep cycle any favours. 

"Establishing a routine and keeping it consistent helps develop the optimum circadian rhythm. Sometimes we can become anxious when falling asleep becomes difficult, which further impacts sleep," Jaimie advises. "Having a regular routine allows the comfort and ease of knowing and learning when it’s time to start getting the body and mind into relaxation sleep mode. This is as easy as putting an alarm in the bedroom to help keep it consistent!"

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