Good Sleep: The Key to all Your New Year’s Resolutions

Getting better sleep or just more sleep may be easier said than done, but sleep could be the key to reaching a whole host of New Year’s goals.

Whether you’ve pledged to read more, drink less, make more time for friends and family take up a new hobby or eliminate stress from your day-to-day, adequate rest will make a positive impact on virtually every part of your life.

Why? Because when we’ve slept well, it’s easier to make positive choices. When our minds and bodies are well rested, we feel energized and more creative, more active and less passive in everything we do.

Focus on sleep – invest in rest – and everything else will follow more easily. So how do we do this?

  • Dry January and Beyond

Start now, and give it a month, or longer ideally. You might get off to sleep quicker when you’ve had a drink or two, but this is a false economy. As the night wears on, you will spend more time in a less restful stage of sleep (the Rapid Eye Movement stage) than you would have done on an alcohol-free night. This is why you might wake feeling sluggish even after sleeping longer than usual.

  • Make your bedroomyour sanctuary

Resist the urge to use your bedroom as a dumping ground. Think about how luxurious it feels to spend a night in a lovely hotel: how a well-lit, clean, fragrant and orderly bedroom virtually promises a beautiful night’s sleep. Style your bedroom on this premise – invest time in making it a safe, soothing place to be – and see if this makes a difference. If you can’t splash out on expensive sheets, treat yourself to some quality pyjamas in an all-natural fibre.

  • Break some bad habits

Better sleep is often the unexpected benefit to ditching bad habits like smoking or eating late.  Caffeine can cause sleep issues even twelve hours after your morning cappuccino, so try switching to decaf, and bear in mind that smoking is also a stimulant that can play havoc with our sleep. Big, heavy meals eaten late can keep you awake with indigestion and refined carbs like white rice and pasta can trigger wakeful periods at night too.

  • Unwind the body and mind

Practice some simple yoga stretches before bed to wring out the body, relax any tight muscles and bring the body to a more restful state before bedding down. You needn’t join a class – check out what apps are available for guidance through some restorative poses and stretches. If you need to carve out some time to switch off before bed a mindfulness app or CD could be worth trying, where a soothing voice offers calming visualisations to work through before climbing between the sheets. If this doesn’t work for you, think about whether there’s a musical genre you find relaxing.

  • Use Aromatherapy

Lavender oil aromatherapy can calm the nervous system, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and it can even change brain waves to operate in a more relaxed state.
Unsurprisingly, lavender can also help with mild insomnia and provide better quality of sleep. Use an oil diffuser, place a few drops onto your pillowcase or dab some onto a handkerchief to keep under your pillow.

If your sleep is affected by you or your partners snoring, read our FAQs which may answer any queries you may have about Snorewizard. Alternatively, call us today on 0800 5283278 to speak to one of our experts.

Six Steps to Making Your Bedroom Sleep-Friendly

  • Noise… or, lack of

Are you accustomed to noise or do you need absolute silence? If you need background noise to get to sleep, a white noise machine or even a white noise app on your phone could be the solution. Apps tend to offer a range of noises from waterfalls to rain and fan noises, and can be set to play constantly or to switch off after a certain amount of time. If you need silence, consider whether a different bedroom in the house would be quieter if you have the choice of rooms, or experiment with earplugs.

 

  • Light

Invest in blackout curtains or blinds (you can buy blackout fabric which clips to the back of your existing curtains) if streetlight glow is affecting the quality of your sleep. Assess your room and landing for LED lights and charge your phone well away from your bedside overnight.

 

  • Clutter

The bedroom can become dumping grounds for the household as it’s one of the rooms that guests are less likely to see! Stick to the mantra, ‘tidy home, tidy mind’ and invest some time in making your sleep space an orderly and altogether more calming one. This is especially important if your bedroom doubles up as a home-office.

 

  • Mattress and Bedding

Is it time for a new mattress? Are you sleeping on a hand-me down? Mattresses are supposed to last eight years before they need replacing and sleeping on one that’s past its prime could be causing all manner of aches, pains and sleep issues. Likewise, investing in really nice bed linen can make a world of difference to how relaxed you feel when you slip between the sheets. Look for 100% cotton and a high thread count. If you can’t stretch to bed linen, upgrade your pyjamas!

 

  • Heating

Are you waking up a little chilly or tossing the covers off in a sweat every night? Negotiate with your bed-fellow if you share a bed, and work out whether there’s a better temperature for your bedroom. This may involve some thermostat adjustments, a change to your bedding, or even moving the bed away from or closer to windows or radiators.

 

Where was the nicest bed or bedroom you ever slept in? This is your benchmark. You may not have the budget to purchase a four-poster bed, floor-to-ceiling curtains or piles of Egyptian cotton linen, but the chances are you can make a few changes to your bedroom to help bring about more soothing, sleep-promoting associations.

How to sleep better tonight – Effective ways to ensure a sound night’s sleep – Part 2

Continuing from our last blog, we look at simple and natural ways you can benefit from a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

 

  • Limit Caffeine

 

Adenosine is a bodily substance that makes us feel sleepy, but caffeine is an adenosine receptor antagonist. Educate yourself in caffeine levels and make a few adjustments to your daily intake. Bear in mind that caffeine is a drug with a half-life of 3-5 hours, so it can take anything up to 14 hours to eliminate its effects from your system.  As little as 100mg of caffeine in the morning – a medium sized cup of coffee – can interrupt your sleep at the end of the day. Millions of us metabolize caffeine more slowly than others, so that rush you need mid-morning can sometimes be deferred.

 

  • Try Aromatherapy

Lavender oil is specifically useful in promoting light sleep, whilst chamomile oil treats anxiety and can act as a mild sedative. Add a few drops of either or both to your bedtime bath, or burn a little oil in a diffuser to create a calming atmosphere in your bedroom before you climb into bed. Herbs like lemon balm, passion flower, magnolia and valerian root are other natural antidotes to sleeplessness, so look for teas, creams and supplements with these ingredients in your local health food shop. Supplements are another avenue to explore if you’re struggling to wind down at night. Magnesium is a calmative mineral which can encourage sleep, plus it’s non-addictive, unlike some prescription sleeping pills.

 

  • Eat for Sleep

We’ve already discussed how melatonin promotes deep sleep, but did you know you can boost your daily dose by eating the right foods? Eating melatonin-rich foods can help reset your circadian rhythm and deepen your REM sleep stage (where a lot of the best repair work takes place.) Flax, pumpkin and poppy seeds are all melatonin-rich, as are cherries, eggs, bananas and lentils.

 

 

  • Be Consistent

Getting up and going to bed at the same time every day will reinforce your body’s sensitive sleep-wake cycle, and helps you sleep better in the long term. It might be a hard resolution to stick to at weekends, but the more consistent you are, the quicker your mind and body will learn when to feel sleepy and when to become alert again. One condition, though: if you struggle to fall asleep, give yourself 15 minutes and if you’re still awake, do something to help you to nod off. Read a book, put the radio on low or adjust your pillows.

 

 

  • Try SnoreWizard

If your sleep cycle is disturbed by your own snoring, then we recommend trying an anti-snoring mouth guard which is designed to move your lower jaw slightly forward while you sleep. This opens the airway at the back of the throat, reducing or completely ceasing the vibration which causes troublesome snoring sounds which can disturb restorative REM sleep. To buy SnoreWizard, which includes a money back guarantee, click here.

How to sleep better tonight – 7 effective ways to ensure a sound night’s sleep

Part 1

Do you feel truly rested when you wake in the morning? If you can’t answer this question with a definite ‘yes’, then the chances are you’re not sleeping well. Sleep is important. We all know this, but many of us fail to understand just why a good night’s sleep is so vital to our wellbeing. Rejuvenating sleep can be the key to health and wellbeing, but sleep problems can often be the gateway to all manner of subsequent issues. Our time spent asleep is when the body clears harmful toxins from the system, including the brain. Our cells undergo essential repair while we sleep, and children do all their growing while sleeping. Our digestive systems relax while we sleep, as our minds reboot and perform essential maintenance as we slip into deep, REM sleep. We’re firmly of the belief that there’s nothing complicated about getting into good sleep habits, but we know that the way we live our lives today creates serious obstacles to that deep, restorative sleep so many of us crave. So here are our seven top tips for sleeping better, tonight.

 

  • Get Comfortable

A bedroom temperature of 60 to 68 degrees is optimal for most sleepers, whatever the weather’s doing outside. In warmer climates, an oscillating fan or an air conditioner set to 70 degrees will get the bedroom atmosphere just right for a peaceful night’s sleep. If you’re struggling to get comfy, do a simple ‘body scan’ when you get into bed tonight and really try to tune into which areas of your body might be causing discomfort. Adapting your sleeping position and using good quality pillows made of natural fibres – like organic buckwheat – can make all the difference. If your days are physical and you feel stiff or achy at bedtime, some simple yoga stretches could help alleviate discomfort that prevents good sleep.

 

  • Switch Off

The screens of smartphones, tablets and some laptops emit a blue wavelength that interferes with the neurons in your brain that control your circadian rhythm (which tells your body when to sleep and when to wake). This blue light essentially tells the brain and body that it’s time to wake up – the last thing you need when you’ve been on the go all day. Screen-staring also busies the mind with emails, messages and newsfeeds you should be switching off from at bed time. Simple solution: ban all technology from the bedroom and reach for a good book if you need to occupy yourself for a while before bed. If you must glance at your phone, download the F.lux app which filters the blue light glare.

 

  • Meditate

If you’ve banished all phones and tablets from your bedside you’re off to a good start, but many of us still experience a racing mind before bedtime. As little as five minutes’ meditation, practised consistently, can make a world of difference as you slowly become reacquainted with how it feels to be calm and still in both body and mind.  Meditation can ease anxiety, depression and physical pain – all obstacles to a good night’s sleep.