It’s common sense that receiving an stressful email or text just before you turn off the light isn’t conducive to a good night’s rest, but many of us don’t think twice about catching up on what’s happening on social media or even playing a game. The trouble is that screens emit a blue light that messes with our natural body clock. That means it’s best to ‘unplug’ well before you get into bed.
2. Your bed
Did you know that if two adults share a double bed they have less than 70cm of space each? If you’re regularly finding yourself clinging to a tiny corner of the bed, it may be worth thinking about getting a bigger one.
Also, don’t forget that mattresses – like pillows – don’t last forever. A mattress has a lifespan of about seven years, pillows two to three.
3. Your period
A lot of us don’t sleep brilliantly at that time of the month. If it’s cramps keeping you awake, a warm bath before bed can really help, as can a hot water bottle.
If it’s worrying about leaks that’s keeping you from getting your rest, why not try Always Night? A unique liquid-locking core means up to 100% leakage protection. Always Night pads have a 60% larger back too, which means you can move about all you like and know they’ll stay in place.
4. Lack of routine
We all have a built-in body clock, so establishing a regular bedtime routine can make a real difference to the quality of our sleep. Don’t forget to allow yourself time to unwind before you turn off the light, too. Doing chores until you slump into bed is not a good idea!
5. Your dinner
A big meal too close to bedtime can play havoc with your sleep patterns, especially if you eat spicy or fatty foods.
And remember the old adage about avoiding cheese late at night? Turns out there’s something in it, as cheese, like nuts and bacon, contains a chemical called tyramine, which adversely affects sleep. Grandma was right!
Okay, so this one’s not exactly new news, but you might be surprised to know just how long caffeine can stay in your system. For this reason, it’s a good idea to avoid tea and coffee after 4pm. And don’t forget, there’s caffeine in lots of soft drinks and chocolate too.
7. Your central heating
If you bedroom is too hot or too cold, or the temperature fluctuates between the two, your sleep is likely to suffer. A room temperature of around 18C is ideal.
No one would go to bed without switching off the lights, but it’s easy to forget less obvious light sources such as a computer screen or a flashing mobile phone charger. If you live in the city you also might find the light from street lamps affecting your rest, in which case investing in blackout blinds can be a good idea.
Hitting the gym too close to bedtime can leave you feeling pumped and unable to get to sleep. That’s no excuse for just lolling on the couch though. Studies have shown that regular exercise really improves people’s sleep – just don’t put on that fitness DVD at 10pm!
Sometimes our minds start buzzing with worry just as we’re trying to drop off. Other times, we might get off to sleep fine but then wake up feeling anxious.
The best advice is obviously to deal with the root cause of the stress, but some people also find meditation or even just losing themselves in a good book a huge help.