Monday, 24 October 2011

How to get a better night's sleep

31 October - just one week away - is National Sleep-In Day. This is the day when the clocks go back and we get an extra hour in bed. The aim of National Sleep-In Day is to increase awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep on our well-being.

Not getting enough sleep or having poor quality sleep over a prolonged period of time has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, obesity and depression. A good night’s sleep has been found to make us more alert, bolster our memory and reduce stress.

A study has revealed the position yourself and your partner adopt while sleeping could affect the level of quality shuteye you get. Even more so in the winter months when we catch more coughs and colds which further worsens the statistic that already 50% of British men snore at night. Indeed, it would seem that 84% of couples attribute ‘bedroom rage’ with snoring.

So, what is the perfect sleeping position? According to sleep specialist, Dr Elizabeth Scott, it is best to sleep on your side with your head at a five-degree angle to the bed. If your spine is straight this should elevate your head around 15 centimetres from the mattress. She has also suggested trying not to sleep on your back as this can lead to increased snoring.

But how else can we improve our sleep? Read our five tips to an improved night's sleep below.

  1. Maintain a regular sleep and wake cycle even at weekends so that your circadian clock in the brain can help sleep onset at night. 
  2. Establish a calming ritual before bed such as reading a book, listening to some relaxing music or soaking in the tub. 
  3. Create an environment conducive to sleep which is dark, comfortable and not too warm. 
  4. Cut back on caffeine and nicotine (which are stimulants) and alcohol which can all disrupt sleep. Make sure you eat and exercise a few hours before bedtime as well. 
  5. Remove any distractions such as televisions and laptops from the bedroom. This space should be used for sleep or sex only and by doing this, it will strengthen the association between your bed and sleep.

No comments:

Post a comment