Good sleep? A regular sleeping pattern? Feeling fresh in the morning? These are not things the average Brit can claim they experience. According to a survey by the Independent, over half of all UK adults state they do not get enough sleep. And while there’s plenty of research around poor sleep to deep-dive into, there’s one consistent theme: bad habits. To counteract, here’s our guide on how to change for the better and achieve a good night’s sleep, every night.
Even though the reasons many Brits struggle to sleep can be boiled down to bad habits, the solutions aren’t quite as simple. That’s because you’ll most likely need to make more than one change to the way you approach sleep. These aren’t huge changes, but by taking only one on board, you’ll see nowhere as much progress as you would by considering all aspects. So, if your new year’s resolution is to sleep better, you’ll want know about these factors and how can you use them to sleep better.
Sleep Environment – Light, noise and temperature for good sleep.
No doubt you’ll have heard plenty about ‘getting your eight hours’ and the impact of exercise on sleep, so we’re going to start with what’s often most overlooked – your sleep environment. This includes everything from your mattress to your lights, whether you watch TV before bed, have blackout blinds or listen to whale-music from a voice-activated speaker.
The amount of light, noise and heat in your bedroom plays a huge role in whether you get a good night’s rest. A big part of making good sleep a habit is ensuring your bedroom has the right atmosphere for sleep. To help you sleep well, your bedroom needs to be cool, quiet and dark. These conditions send the right signals to your body which will start to respond accordingly.
Another big factor for getting the right amount of sleep is how tidy you keep your bedroom. Decluttered rooms promote sleep as they offer fewer distractions and help you relax. This is especially important If you like to spend time in bed before you go to sleep. If so, you’ll need to make sure your room is set up to gently lull you towards a state of relaxation. Make sure any lighting is dim, noise is at a low level and that screens are turned off, including your phone.
If you already think your room is set up to promote a good night’s rest, consider investing in some sleep technology. These products include plug-in lamps which cast light that has a positive effect on your sleeping pattern. White and blue light – caused by electronic devices – stops the body from producing melatonin, a hormone directly related to your sleep-wake cycle.
You can also invest in other sleeping aids such as scent diffusers and sleep trackers which can help you create the perfect atmosphere and analyse the results. Finally, if you’re still struggling to sleep, it may be time for a new mattress. Check out our bed and mattress guide for more information.
- Use black-out curtains if you find you wake too early in the summer months
- Invest in sleep technology lights to help your body recognise it’s time to sleep
- Keep your room tidy, decluttered and use warm, relaxing tones for your décor
Behaviour & Diet for Good Sleep
How you behave during the course of the day impacts your sleep. If you drink a lot of caffeine, eat foods high in sugar, take a lot of naps or don’t exercise regularly you’ll most likely struggle to make sleep a good habit.
The good news is that you don’t need to eradicate all the pleasures of life just to achieve good sleep. Instead, it’s about quantity. Cutting down your caffeine intake and the length of your naps will quickly help you get better sleep.
Improving your diet and the amount you exercise will also have a massive impact. Don’t think this means you need to cut out all treats and exercise every single day – you’ll see improvements with small changes, so long as they’re regular.
One of the biggest parts of a good sleep habit is consistency. Waking up and falling asleep at the same time each day helps the body regulate its sleep pattern. After just a few days of forcing the habit, your body will start to respond – improving your mood when you wake up and relaxing your body at night. It’s also important to try and avoid snoozing your alarm – this confuses your body and will not help you develop a regular sleeping pattern.
- Cut out caffeine after 6 pm. If you like hot drinks, use relaxing, caffeine-free herbal options like chamomile and green tea
- Regulate your diet and eat at the same time each day, with no high-sugar snacks before bed
- Set yourself a time to wake up and stick to it
How to get a good night’s sleep every single night
According to a report from the NHLBI, losing an hour or two of sleep over several nights can impact your ability to function to the same level as not sleeping for one or two days. And with 38% of the country saying they never achieve the recommended 8 hours it’s clear to see this is a problem.
The biggest factor is consistency – getting to sleep and waking at the same time each day. Of course, this isn’t always possible, but by making an effort to regulate your sleeping pattern, you’ll quickly see the benefits. To help, we’ve put together a summary of the best steps to help you get better sleep, night after night.
- Set a time to go to sleep and stick to it at least 6 days a week
- Switch off all screens and put down your phone one hour before you plan to sleep
- Eat a balanced diet, avoiding sugar and caffeine after 6 pm
- Set your alarm for the same time each morning and do not snooze
- Exercise at least 3 times per week, leaving a couple of hours to relax before sleep
Visit the Dreams Sleep Better Hub for more expert tips on sleep.