Most people suffer from the occasional sleepless night, and successful snoozing can become all the more difficult during stressful periods. A survey by Crampex found that 86% of people suffer from disturbed sleep, and in England alone, 10 million sleeping pill prescriptions are written every year. However, there are several simple changes that you can easily adopt to increase your chances of a sound slumber and improve your sleep quality.
A Relaxation Routine
Often, we are so busy that we rush around right up until we collapse into bed, leaving our tensed-up bodies to try and unwind only once we’re lying in the dark. The brain often seizes this opportunity to let the mind run wild, keeping us awake. Instead, set aside some time 30-60 minutes before bed to do whatever relaxes you. This could be stretching, meditation or just a simple cup of chamomile tea.
Clear the Clutter
The National Sleep Foundation’s ‘Bedroom Poll’ Survey found that people who make their bed in the morning are 19% more likely to have a good night’s sleep as a result. Minimalism has also long been a popular lifestyle choice, with people choosing to own less possessions to reduce stress. Whichever small changes you make, a cleaner and more clutter-free space can instantly create a relaxing haven and create a more sleep-inducing environment.
Let in the Light
Natural daytime light sends signals to your body, brain and hormones, helping your natural circadian rhythm know when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time to sleep. Light exposure in the day will increase your energy levels, which in turn gives the body a greater capacity to relax later in the day as it gets darker. A study on insomniacs found that daytime light exposure reduces the time it takes to fall asleep by 83%, and can greatly improve your sleep quality.
Whilst it can be tempting to calculate the number of hours you’ll get to sleep, or to check the time throughout the night, this actually increases stress levels and will prevent you from drifting off. Instead, download a bedtime app which will alert you when it’s time to prepare for sleep, and try to keep the bedroom a clock-free zone.
Cool it Down
The National Sleep foundation recommend that the ideal temperature for sleep is between 15–19 degrees Celsius. Some people have also reported success with opening a window at night if it’s safe to do so, to let in fresh air and create a cosy sensation of being snuggled in bed.
Keep it Comfortable
Many of us neglect the condition of our pillows, sheets and mattress until a serious problem arises – such as a skin condition or back problem. 100% cotton sheets will be soft and gentle on your skin, and wash well at hot temperatures to ensure a clean, bacteria free bed. Sleepbear mattresses are hypo-allergenic and anti-microbial – perfect for those with respiratory problems or allergies which can irritate and awaken in the night. A medium-firm mattress can improve your sleep quality by providing extra support on aches and pains which could be currently keeping you awake should your mattress be too soft.
Mellow with Melatonin
Melatonin, a key hormone which signals to your brain when it’s time to sleep, is a very popular supplement used to improve sleep quality. One study found that 2mg of melatonin before bed also helped people to fall asleep more quickly, with no withdrawal effects. As this is a medication, you should always check with your health professional before use, and they may even be able to prescribe it for you.