General tips on having a good night's sleep

We all know that sleeping well is essential; sleeping affects both your mental and physical health, and in turn affects the quality of your life. A good night’s sleep can offer an energetic, productive, and positive day ahead, whereas a bad night’s sleep can have a very opposite effect. Luckily, we have some general tips on how you can improve your sleep, leading to a good night’s sleep much more often than not.

General tips on having a good night's sleep // Photo Credit : Unsplash - mcknight_shane
Photo credit : Unsplash - Shane McKnight

Stick to a schedule

Ensuring that you try and go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day will help in setting your body’s internal clock. Regulating your internal body clock is much more important than you may believe – and yes, this applies at weekends too!

The easiest way to start sticking to a schedule is to begin by going to bed at a time that you generally always feel tired – this way, once your head hits the pillow, you shouldn’t be tossing or turning. If your body receives enough sleep to reenergise, you shouldn’t need an alarm clock, as you will begin to wake up naturally. If you do rely on an alarm clock, it’s probably a sign that you need to start going to bed earlier.

Sticking to a schedule to get in sync with your circadian rhythm can be a difficult task, especially after performing a tiring activity, or eating too much on a Sunday afternoon! However tempting it is, if you’re going to nap, try not to exceed napping for more than 15 to 20 minutes as any longer could disrupt your body’s ability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night.


Exercise

Although it can be boring, and hard to get motivated at times, regular exercise can drastically improve the amount of sleep you receive, especially the deep stages of sleep where your body is gaining the most restorative benefits. Whether it’s walking, running, swimming, going to the gym, or playing a sport, creating an exercise habit that you’ll stick too could be an essential change to improve your sleep. Researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine2 investigated the bi-directional relationship between sleep and exercise. Exercising subjects in the 16-week study gained as much as an additional 1.25 hours per night more than their non-exercising counterparts.

Don’t expect exercise to be a quick fix to gaining a good night’s sleep; it must become part of your routine, where significant benefits will be seen providing you stick to it, allowing the benefits of exercise to develop gradually and become part of your lifestyle.

Improve your sleeping environment

When you get into bed at night, your body will want to rest and get ready for a good night’s sleep, not be kept awake by distractions or irritations.

Here are some simple tips for ensuring your sleep environment is peaceful:
  • Temperature regulation – keep your room at a cool temperature of around 18° C; too hot or too cold can disrupt your quality of sleep
  • Comfort – ensure you have a comfortable bed to sleep on, and your duvet and pillows are suitable for your body. Mattress firmness and pillow support are essential to get right
  • Stimulation – although it’s tempting to watch TV when you get into bed, this puts your body into a state of stimulation and is an easy distraction from getting a good night’s sleep
  • Noise levels – although this can be hard to control if you live on a busy street, or in a noisy environment, try and limit or avoid the noise in your sleeping environment. If the noise gets too much, try some earplugs as they really could help

Clear your head

Much easier said than done we hear you say! Stress, worry, and persistent thoughts can of course make it very difficult to get a good night’s sleep, but there are methods that can help to combat the effects of daily struggles.

Meditation – if anxiety is taking over your thoughts at night, try a form of meditation (there are many). Whether it’s listening to an audio tape or using an app on your mobile phone, meditation training can eventually teach your body to enter a state where those anxious thoughts will no longer be able to come enter your head

Stress management – stress can be managed in a variety of ways, but often boils down to managing your time effectively and learning how to handle stressful situations when they arrive. If you can handle a situation before it becomes too much to handle, you should be able to gain a better night’s sleep


The right bed

Choosing the right bed, and mattress, for your sleeping needs is an essential part of getting a good night’s sleep. Someone once said, the two main things you need in life are a comfy pair of shoes and a comfy bed – it really is true! Whether you have guests coming to stay or need a permanent solution for your bedroom, but you’re not sure how to manage storage, comfort, and space, we recommend looking into a guest bed. Guest beds are a perfect solution to ensure you have a comfortable night’s sleep, without the need for a ginormous space hogging bed. They also present a superb storage solution for your bedding, towels, or personal effects.

Most commonly associated with kid’s rooms, mid sleepers are also another comfortable all-in-one space saving solution to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. Don’t let the misconception sway you, though. Mid sleepers present you with a multifunctional environment, offering comfort as well as office space, or room for a hobby.

References

  1. Sleepfoundation.org. (2017). Sleep Drive and Your Body Clock. [online] Available at: https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/sleep-drive-and-your-body-clock
  2. Breus, M. (2006). Good night: The Sleep Doctor's 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health. New York: Dutton.

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