Tired of being tired? Constantly tossing and turning and praising the Gods when you finally get that one night where you sleep right through? Here at Sheets on the Line we take sleep very seriously so we have a number of handy tips to help you reach your destination of deep sleep.
1 - CREATE A SLEEP INDUCING ENVIRONMENT
Turning your bedroom into a sleep-inducing environment is extremely important for a good night’s sleep. A quiet, dark, and cool temperature space makes for the perfect sleeping sanctuary. Outside noise has been known to affect sleep quality so if you live near a busy road or have noisy neighbours, lower the volume with earplugs or a “white noise” appliance. Additionally, if a pet regularly wakes you during the night, you may want to consider keeping them out of your bedroom. Blackout shades or an eye mask will give you that darkness that tells your brain that it’s time to sleep. Blue light from your phone, tablet and laptop will trick your brain into thinking it’s day time so be sure to eliminate these things once you get to bed. And if you can’t live without your phone, go into settings and change the brightness to “night shift”. You can also schedule this into the same time each night. It has also been found that the perfect temperature for your bedroom during sleep time is between 17-20°C as it allows your body to rest at night.
2 - IMPLEMENT A PRE-SLEEP ROUTINE
When you prepare for bed, get into a relaxation routine. Do some light reading, have a bath, meditate, ask your partner for a massage. Get into the habit of winding down from your day and allowing your body to prepare for rest. Avoid stressful activities such as work or discussing emotional issues. Psychologically stressful situations have been known to cause the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which can increase alertness. If you find yourself dealing with emotional issues during bedtime, try writing down how you feel and then put that aside as your body needs to focus on rest.
3 - KEEP YOUR INTERNAL CLOCK SET
Your body is very good at recognising your sleep patterns so having a regular sleep schedule will ensure better quality and consistent sleep. Try your best, particularly at the weekends, to go to sleep at the same time each night. This will avoid that sleep hangover on Mondays. Waking up at the same time is also very important, even if you didn’t sleep very well the night before, the extra sleep drive will help you make up for the lack of sleep the following night. Additionally, increasing natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your internal body clock in check. Your body will align with sunrise and sunset, keeping a consistent sleep/wake cycle.
4 - WATCH YOUR FLUID INTAKE BEFORE BED
Drink enough fluid throughout the day so that your body is well hydrated, 3 litres is recommended. Try not to drink any fluids 1 hour before bed and use the bathroom right before you fall asleep. Urination during the night affects sleep quality and daytime energy, so if you find yourself often waking up in the middle of the night and navigating to the bathroom half asleep, reassess your fluid intake before bedtime.
5 - EXERCISE EARLY
Exercise is wonderful in the morning as it secretes the stress hormone cortisol, keeping you alert and energised and later promoting a night of restful sleep. However, this is not what you want right before bedtime. Try to exercise at least 3 hours before bed to allow your body to prepare for rest.
6 - MAKE SURE YOUR BED IS COMFORTABLE
Ever wonder why you always sleep so well in a decent hotel? Not only is the environment ideal for sleeping, but the beds are also of high quality and are relatively new. It is recommended to upgrade your bedding at least every 5-8 years so if you haven’t replaced your mattress in a while, this may be a huge factor. It is also important to change your pillow every 12 months as dust and skin can build up, affecting not only your sleep but your health too.
7 - RULE OUT A SLEEP DISORDER
If none of these seem to be a factor in your sleeping issues, an underlying health condition may be the cause of your sleep problems. A common issue is sleep apnea, which affects 24% of men and 9% of women. Sleep apnea causes inconsistent and interrupted breathing where people may stop breathing throughout their sleep. Other common medically diagnosed issues include sleep movement disorders and circadian rhythm sleep/wake disorders, which are common in shift workers. If you've always struggled with sleep, regardless of what you do to create a healthy sleep environment, it may be wise to consult with your doctor.
Time to make dreaming a reality, comment below if you have any other sleep hygiene tips to share!