Discover How to Sleep Better and Awake Refreshed
Tired of counting sheep all night? You’re not alone. Up to 30% of adults experience chronic sleep deprivation, leaving them feeling drained, foggy, and forgetful. This isn’t just an occasional bad night’s sleep – it’s a nightly reality that can impact your mood, memory, concentration, and overall well-being.
Recent research paints a clear picture: sleep is one of the three pillars of good health, alongside healthy eating, and regular exercise. But before you rush out and buy a new bed (although we at Strictly Beds and Bunks are always happy to help!), it’s important to remember that good sleep hygiene plays a crucial role in achieving restful nights. That’s why we’ve put together 5 practical tips for a good night’s sleep.
So, grab a cup of chamomile tea, and get ready to learn how to sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed, energised, and ready to conquer your day.
1. Finding Your Sweet Spot for Sleep
Ironically, spending too much time in bed can actually worsen sleep quality.
Here’s the science behind it: most adults need around 7-8 hours of sleep per night, with some requiring slightly more or less. However, many individuals struggling with sleep spend far longer in bed, exceeding 8 hours. This can actually condition your body to expect fragmented sleep, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
So, how do you find your personal sleep “sweet spot”? Here’s the key:
- • Limit your time in bed to no more than 8.5 hours unless you have a documented need for longer sleep. This helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle and prevents tossing and turning.
- • If you consistently take more than 20 minutes to fall asleep, adjust your bedtime later. Lying awake in bed for extended periods reinforces negative sleep associations. By going to bed closer to your natural sleep time, you’ll be more likely to fall asleep quickly and avoid frustration.
- • Remember, age matters! Children and teenagers require significantly more sleep than adults. Ensure their bedtimes are appropriate for their age group.
By following these tips and identifying your individual sleep needs, you can break the cycle of excessive time in bed and unlock the door to more restful nights.
2. Ditch the Distractions and Embrace Rest
Your bed should be the place where your mind and body can rest, unwind, and recharge. Unfortunately, many of us turn our bedrooms into multi-functional spaces, complete with TVs, laptops, and smartphones. But here’s the truth: these distractions can be major sleep saboteurs.
Let’s break down why:
- • Blue light. Devices like phones and tablets emit blue light, which suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. This can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- • Mental stimulation. Checking emails, scrolling social media, or watching TV before bed keeps your mind active and engaged, making it difficult to wind down and transition to sleep.
- • Temptation to multitask. Having your phone within reach can be tempting, leading to late-night browsing, or checking work emails, further disrupting your sleep cycle.
So, how do you create a sleep-conducive environment? Here’s the key:
- • Reserve your bed for rest and relaxation only. Avoid using it for work, watching TV, or other activities that might stimulate your mind.
- • Banish electronics from the bedroom. This includes TVs, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. If you need an alarm clock, opt for a traditional clock without a bright display.
- • Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Wind down with calming activities like reading, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation.
By turning your bedroom into a restful space free from distractions, you’ll signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for a good night’s sleep.
3. The Power of Winding Down Before Bed
So, you finally crawl into bed after a long day, ready to drift off to sleep. But instead of peaceful slumber, your mind races with worries, to-do lists, and the replay of stressful events. Sound familiar?
The truth is transitions matter. Creating a wind-down buffer before bedtime is crucial for signalling to your body and mind that it’s time to switch gears and prepare for sleep. Here’s why – chewing on problems or tackling last-minute tasks right before bed heightens your cortisol levels, the stress hormone that keeps you alert and awake.
So, how can you create a relaxing pre-sleep routine?
- • Establish a “worry time” earlier in the day. Dedicate 15-20 minutes to write down concerns, brainstorm solutions, and create action plans for the next day. This helps clear your mind and avoid late-night stress spirals.
- • Turn off your screens at least an hour before bed. Instead, try some calming activities like reading, taking a warm bath, listening to relaxing music, or practicing meditation or deep breathing exercises.
- • Move your body, but wisely. Regular exercise is great for sleep, but avoid strenuous workouts close to bedtime. Choose gentle activities like yoga, stretching, or a leisurely walk earlier in the evening.
By incorporating these tips and finding your personal wind-down rituals, you’ll create a buffer zone that promotes relaxation and prepares your body and mind for a restful night’s sleep.
4. Find Your Sleep Rhythms and Stick with Them
Establishing a regular sleep pattern, where you go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day, even on weekends, is crucial for creating a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
Why is consistency so important? It all boils down to your internal clock, also known as your circadian rhythm. This natural system regulates your sleep-wake cycle, responding to light and darkness cues to promote alertness during the day and sleepiness at night. When you adhere to a consistent sleep schedule, you strengthen your circadian rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up feeling refreshed.
Now, you don’t have to be too hard on yourself about this. Life throws surprises our way, and adjusting your sleep schedule slightly is inevitable. The key is to minimise these disruptions and return to your regular routine as soon as possible. Remember, even small changes can add up. The Sleep Health Foundation suggests that aiming for consistency 80% of the time, should provide a significant improvement in your sleep quality.
5. Helping Your Child Sleep Soundly (Even in a Bunk Bed!)
Sharing a bunk bed can be an exciting adventure for children, providing a sense of shared bedtimes and fun. But let’s face it, bunk beds can sometimes also lead to late night chatting. So, how do you ensure your children slumber soundly in their bunkbeds?
- • Have a consistent bedtime routine. Just like adults, children thrive on predictability. Establish a calming bedtime routine that winds them down and signals it’s time for sleep. This could include a warm bath or reading a story together.
- • Create a cosy environment for sleep. Invest in comfortable bedding, blackout curtains, and a nightlight if needed. Choose soft, breathable fabrics and ensure the temperature is cool and comfortable.
- • Address bedtime anxieties. If your child feels nervous about something at bedtime, talk to them about their concerns and offer reassurance. Consider placing a favourite stuffed animal or photo on their bunk for comfort.
- • Make it fun! Turn bedtime into a positive experience. Let them choose their pyjamas, pick out a bedtime story, or personalise their bunk with fairy lights or glow-in-the-dark decorations.