Sleep is the key to both looking and feeling great. It’s also important to keep us healthy and happy. We need a good night’s sleep to ensure we’re feeling fit, thinking sharply and generally to give us the appetite and enthusiasm to make the most of everyday living.
However, poor sleep is common. Just one bad night’s sleep affects our mood, concentration and alertness while long-term sleep deprivation has far more serious consequences – it’s been linked to a number of serious health problems including heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
Here are 5 simple steps suggested by the Sleep Council you can try and improve your sleep:
- Create the ideal sleep environment: You need the right environment to get a good night’s sleep and that means a bedroom that’s cool, quiet and dark.
- Get rid of the gadgets: Smartphones, laptops, TVs, radios and games consoles all have a significant effect on our sleeping habits, making it difficult to switch off and wind down. Exposure to even the weakest glow at night – eg, the notification light flashing on your mobile next to your bed – can unconsciously play havoc with your body’s circadian rhythms, keeping you alert when you should be sleepy.
- Invest in a new bed: It’s the foundation of good sleep. Research shows that sleeping on an uncomfortable bed could rob you of up to an hour’s sleep – yet the deterioration may be so gradual and invisible you don’t make the connection. Think about replacing your bed after about 7 years
- Routine: Try to stick to regular bedtime hours – going to bed and getting up roughly the same every day helps to program the body to sleep better. Plus your body will love you for it.
- Wind down: Try to learn to relax before bedtime. Meditation is a great tool for relaxing both body and mind – as is having a warm bath, listening to some quiet music, yoga etc. If you start to worry when you get into bed, try writing down what’s niggling you or things you need to tackle.