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Improving the quality of your sleep

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At one point or another, many of us will experience trouble with sleeping. We spend around a third of our lives asleep so it’s important we all get good quality rest at whatever age.

We may not necessarily think of sleep as an important part of our lives, especially since we’re not really aware of it happening at the time! However, sleep accounts for approximately one-third of our entire lives and it’s extremely important for regulating our physical and mental wellbeing.

Not getting enough good quality sleep can have a knock-on effect on our daily lives. We may spend the days feeling physically tired or unmotivated, as well as having trouble concentrating on certain tasks.

Getting good quality sleep can sometimes be a struggle, and it’s easy to fall into some bad sleeping habits. Here we take a look at some handy tips you can try to help improve your quality of sleep and face each day feeling refreshed and revitalised.

Improving the quality of your sleep

Regulate your bedtime

One of the best ways to ensure you get a good night’s sleep is to get into a regular routine with your bedtime and waking up. Going to bed at the same time each night will help to train your body into a regular daily rhythm.

As you settle into your nightly routine, you may want to rely on an alarm clock to get up at a suitable time. Over time, the more you settle into your routine, the more likely you will wake up naturally at a similar time each morning – alarm or no alarm.

You may also want to establish something of a night-time ritual as a way of telling yourself it’s time to wind down. This routine can include turning the lights of in a certain order, brushing your teeth, and perhaps reading a little while in bed. Whatever you need to help you relax.

Comfort is key

Relaxation is also vital to your quality of sleep. In order to feel the benefits of a good rest, you’ll want to be aware of environmental factors that may affect your comfort levels. This can include mattress and bedding quality, as well as room temperature.

Mattresses are often expensive, but they are also a long term investment. In most cases, people will get maximum comfort out of a mattress for around 8 years. However, like most things, wear and tear is inevitable. If you’re using quite an old mattress, it may be worthwhile to look for something new.

Maintaining a cool temperature in the bedroom is also ideal, especially in the warmer months. Conversely, during the winter you’ll want to introduce a little bit of warmth to maintain a comfortable room temperature and fight off the biting chill. Good ventilation overnight is useful too – aim to get some fresh air circulating in the room to help you feel more relaxed.

Natural light is your friend

The biggest factor when it comes to regulating our sleep is the hormone melatonin. During daylight hours we naturally feel more awake. But as the sun goes down, our brains release more melatonin, which brings on feelings of tiredness.

As it gets darker of an evening, this is generally our cue to wind down for the night. The presence and absence of natural light should regulate our sleeping habits, but for so many of us artificial light interferes and ultimately affects our sleep quality.

If part of your bedtime routine includes watching TV, working away on a laptop or checking you phone in bed, try to cut the habit. These devices can trick our bodies into not releasing the necessary melatonin to make us feel sleepy and restful. Try ditching the devices for about an hour before bed to improve your sleep quality.

Focus on physical wellbeing

Diet and exercise are the key pillars of maintaining our physical health every day. This is turn can have a knock on effect on our sleep, due to fitness and energy levels. Generally the fitter we are, the less likely we are to experience discomfort or disruptions during our resting hours.

You don’t need to be a keen fitness fanatic to improve your physical health. Even just 30 minutes of light exercise each day can be a big help. Whether that’s going for a short walk early in the evening or breaking it down into 5-minute chunks of chair exercises at home, regular activity contributes to your overall wellbeing. It also helps to reduce anxiety and stress, giving you a clearer and calmer mind ahead of bedtime.

In terms of food and drink, again you don’t need make any drastic changes or completely overhaul your diet. There are perhaps one or two bad habits you can steer away from, though. Try not to snack too close to bedtime and stick to smaller meals earlier on in the evenings. Alcohol before bed is also something to avoid. While a drink may help you fall asleep quicker, it can affect your overall quality of sleep and leave you feeling a bit rough the following morning.

By all means this is not a comprehensive list, but hopefully some of our advice here can help you to improve your overall sleep quality. If you still find yourself having trouble sleeping, waking up, or constantly feeling tired, it is worth speaking to your GP as these symptoms may be a sign of other underlying health issues.