How does one become a healthy sleeper? This is a common dilemma, as most of us struggle to consistently get a good night's rest. First, a great mattress helps. However, it takes more than a proper bed to drift off to la la land - your sleeping style and overall lifestyle significantly affect your quality of sleep.
Follow these four tips and you'll soon get the kind of sleep you've been dreaming of:
1. Have a sleep routine
Getting a good night’s rest goes beyond having the perfect mattress or pillows. Establishing, and sticking to, an effective sleep routine is crucial. To be a healthier sleepier, you need to form habits that will give cues to your brain when bedtime gets nearer. I like extending my sleep on weekends and holidays which, although really nice, is wrong! No matter what day of the week it is, you’ll need to stick to your routine if you really want to enjoy great sleep long term. It may sound like a drag to give-up your beloved lie-ins, but there's nothing like waking up naturally and with energy, having the whole day ahead of you. You'll be surprised at how quickly you fall in line if you give it an honest try.
2. Keep your bedroom technology-free
Thanks to our 'connected' lives, we've become slaves to technology. It’s becoming almost impossible to survive without our gadgets, or at least that's our perception if we don't stop to question our habits once in a while. We all have made the mistake of taking our phones, tablets and laptops to the bedroom, and this destroys the quality of sleep. I used to love watching a movie as I drifted away into slumberland, and sometimes I took my work to the bedroom - a grievous mistake! Watching a movie or staring at my PC as I worked caused my brain to become overstimulated, which is counter-productive to sleep. And this habit often made me go to bed way too late. It’s better to read a book instead as this calms our minds, and if we fall asleep reading, a dropped book on top of the is far preferable to a heated laptop! A technology-free bedroom is a great starting point, not only for healthy sleeping but a more positive mental state in general.
3. Get the right mattress for you
Great sleep starts with getting the right mattress for you. Choose one that complements your usual sleeping position. I learned this the hard way having suffered for years trying to figure out why I always woke up sore and tired. Not every mattress is suitable for everyone, and specialist manufacturers are addressing this by designing mattresses for individual sleeping positions . You’ll also need good pillows for the kind of support you specifically require. (I can't have thick, firm pillows or I won't be able to turn my head in the morning!) When we sleep on the right mattress for us, we avoid straining ourselves and developing other health and alignment complications. We also get to enjoy high quality sleep because we rest peacefully now that we're no longer tossing and turning trying to get comfortable.
One more thing - get rid of worn out mattresses as soon as possible, they won’t do you any good!
4. Take time to relax
Committing to quality down time can be a challenge, considering the pressures that we face on a daily basis. However, we need to relax properly well before bed time if we're going to sleep well. There are a few things that we can do to wind down come night time:
- Get regular exercise during the day or do some light stretching before bed
- Take a warm shower
- Drink soothing beverages before bed, such chamomile tea and warm milk
- Prepare for the next day so you're not worrying about it when trying to fall asleep
- Do any chores that still need to be completed so you can rest feeling that you've taken care of everything
Ultimately, enjoying healthy sleep boils down to the choices that we make and our ability to commit to them. With the above tips, you can begin your journey towards becoming a healthier sleeper.