I can guarantee that I am not the only one who is a monster if I don’t get enough sleep. My bed and sleep are things I look forward to on a daily basis. Going to bed and getting a good night’s sleep is perhaps one of the small pleasures many of us take for granted. Not all of us have a deep, relaxing sleep where we wake up cheery for the day ahead. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that thirty percent (or forty point six million of American adults) are sleeping for less than six hours a night. The recommended healthy amount of hours sleep for an adult is eight hours. Can you say you get that?
HOW MUCH SLEEP DO YOU GET?
Well, what time did you get up this morning?
Now, think about when you went to bed last. Did you turn off American Horror Story at ten? And then make yourself a glass of water and brush your teeth? What time did you check your alarm was set and pull on your pyjamas? I know I reply to that one last comment before climbing into bed.
When you’re finally in bed, you then toss and turn. Once you’ve finally found that right spot, you’re definitely not getting the full eight hours. Perhaps maybe seven or six and a half.
Now, an hour or two less sleep may not feel like a big deal. But it really is. According to a US study, if you have less than seven hours sleep you shouldn’t even be driving! Crash rates increase with every hour of lost sleep due to drowsy driving. It all adds up!
HOW TO GET BETTER SLEEP
Now, this is the bit you really wanted to get to huh? Well, I have a few personal recommendations for getting better sleep as well as some information I have found through looking around the web, to help improve my own sleep.
I would like to note that I now sleep a comfortable eight hours a night. So, hopefully these tips will work for you, too!
- Get plenty of exercise – Working out uses up energy. This will help you sleep better than just letting it all get pent up. It’s a great way to help you sleep, improve your mood and boosts your general health.
- Decrease the caffeine – Limit the amount of coffee you drink a day and have your last one before two p.m. This way the energy caffeine releases will have left the system by bedtime and won’t keep you buzzing!
- Find the perfect bed/mattress – Okay, perhaps not an instant solution but it is definitely something you should consider. Have you considered that you’re probably uncomfortable in bed? It’s advised that you should change your mattress every eight years. Or you could visit Adjustmatic for an adjustable bed. And no, they’re not just for the elderly. They help to create the perfect position for your comfort and can even improve your circulation. Which is handy for those with spinal injuries. My Mum (in her forties might I add) can’t sleep laying flat, she prefers sleeping slightly upright with her legs raised and has never gone back to a regular flatbed!
- Remove distractions – Social media is great unless it’s two a.m and you’re scrolling for no reason. You could be asleep right now but you are Instagram stalking, aren’t you?
- Use the Bedtime setting on your iPhone – I use the bedtime setting to let me know when I need to go to bed to ensure I get my eight hours. The alarm is also a lot nicer to wake up to than the heart-jolting pre-set alarms.
- Get thicker curtains – When you have to go to bed early in the summer, it might become impossible to go to bed before ten p.m! This can also be said for people with streetlamps outside their window. If you feel you can’t sleep because of the niggling glow behind your eyes, you might need to invest in some chunky curtains.
- Have the wind-down time you need – Airports and other such places use lighting that keeps you feeling wide awake, even when you’re exhausted. It goes the same way for the technology you use. Why do you think that when your turn off your phone, laptop or PS4 that you immediately feel about a hundred years older? Turn off your games and such an hour before bedtime and pick up a book. It helps soothe your eyes and mind which lets you wind down for the night.
- Get an app – Amy can’t sleep without an underlying noise playing. And many others can’t either! But listening to music all night can stop you from getting a healthy deep sleep. That’s why many apps have a bedtime setting. Pick your favourite radio or audiobook app. Most will have a thirty minute to a three-hour timer, where the app with shut off at the time of your choice. This means you will be able to have the best of both worlds: fall asleep to the music you want and have the deep and silent sleep you need.
WHY IS YOUR SLEEP IMPORTANT?
Sleep is so important to help you keep focussed, healthy and alert to the things around you. You’re more likely to make mistakes at work, be involved in accidents or forget something important if you don’t start taking your sleep routine seriously. So, from tonight I want you to get to bed early.
After some chamomile tea, a little read in bed, use the Bedtime setting to set an alert and then put your phone on Airplane Mode. Snuggle into bed, away from your phone and close your eyes. Breathe deeply, slowly in and out and relax. See if you sleep better. If you are still struggling after a few nights, consider looking at the environment. Is it too hot, too cold? Is it your mattress, your posture? Are you aching or uncomfortable? There are so many factors to sleep but little changes will make the difference!