How to get a better night’s sleep
Sleep is vital. And the more we learn about it, the more we realise just how essential it is. Any time you’ve had a bad night’s sleep you’ll know that your batteries haven’t been recharged properly.
But get too little sleep long-term and it can lead to serious health problems including depression, becoming overweight or obese, memory and concentration problems, and even high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Some of these conditions could increase the likelihood of having an early death.
And yet, one in three adults get an average of six hours or less sleep per night, when the majority of us need between seven and nine. If you’re getting too little, now’s the time to change it, and here’s how.
Cut down on caffeine
After guzzling a cup of coffee, it actually takes almost six hours for just half that caffeine to leave the system. Therefore, it’s particularly important to avoid caffeine in the afternoon, and especially so in the evening. Otherwise, your sleep could well be lighter than it should be, more disturbed, or you might not even get to sleep at all.
If you’re not a great sleeper, then having alcohol before bed can appear to do the trick. You might fall asleep more quickly and for longer, though the odds are you’ll still be feeling groggy the next day. This is because, when under the influence of alcohol, you don’t get the deep sleep that helps your body with memory and concentration.
Create a bedtime ritual
If the time leading up to bedtime is stressful, then in all likelihood you’ll struggle more to get to sleep. Instead, soothe the body and mind so they’re in a better place for slumber. Create a routine that relaxes you, maybe with a bath or by listening to calming music. Then dim the lights to help prepare your brain for sleep.
Avoid watching TV or looking at the bright light on your phone, as this can throw your brain off kilter. And doing stressful things like working, sorting bills or arguing are also counter-productive.
If you find you still struggle to get to sleep, take yourself away for a little while to read a book or listen to music, then return when you feel really tired. You don’t want your brain to associate bed with a stressful struggle.
Invest in comfort
Getting a more comfortable mattress and pillows could reduce the likes of back and shoulder pain that might prevent you from sleeping well at night. And also having comfortable men’s or women’s nightwear and bedding will enable you to feel truly relaxed and could well enhance your sleep.
A good night’s sleep is all about calm and comfort. If you can find a routine that works for you, and bedding and attire that soothes you, then you give yourself every chance of lengthy slumbers and the health benefits that come with them.
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