How to Perfect a Good Night's Sleep
A good night's sleep can directly affect your health and wellbeing. However, getting those eight hours is easier said than done. Nearly half of us only get six hours of sleep per night and four in five people complain that they sleep badly (according to The Sleep Council). If you're keen to get some quality z's, try our guide for handy tips. We've compiled helpful advice from a panel of experts to help you perfect the art of truly restful sleep.
How to Prepare your Bedroom for a Good Night's Sleep
An old, uncomfortable bed can cost you as much as an hour of your night's sleep so make sure the frame and mattress are supportive and comfy. Good quality sheets, pillows and linens are helpful too.
"While it may be tempting to pick up a set of sheets on your weekly shop, it's far better to invest in the highest quality bedding you can afford in cotton or linen. Look for high thread counts - the tighter the weave of the fabric, the softer the bedding becomes as it's washed and used so it only gets better the more we sleep on it."
- Kimberly Duran from Swoonworthy
Your room's lighting is important to having uninterrupted sleep as well. Blackout blinds or good quality curtains will stop light streaming in during the early summer hours.
For a perfect night's sleep you need to be in the state of mind for peaceful, quality rest. The key to this is finding the best way to help you wind down at the end of the day.
"Experiment with new ways to relax like warm baths with calming scents, quiet soothing music, reading, gentle stretching and yoga. Spend five minutes indulging in pure relaxation and allow yourself to sink into a sound, fulfilling sleep. Don't try to sleep - it needs to find you. Keep your eyes open and gently resist sleep or try to adopt a carefree, accepting attitude to wakefulness."
- Lisa Artis from The Sleep Council
To really be relaxed before you head to sleep, keep away from mobile and computer screens for at least an hour before resting.
Fitness for Better Sleep
Exercise works wonders when it comes to sleeping, with even light physical activities aiding better sleep. However, the type of workout you do can have a huge effect on how well you sleep.
"Although many people hit the gym after work, I try to avoid high intensity cardio or weights too close to bedtime as it acts as a stimulant and wakes me up. I opt for more low impact workouts such as yoga, Pilates or barre. Running and yoga calm me down, and put me into a better mental state before bed so that I can get to sleep more quickly."
- Charlie Watson, fitness writer at The Runner Beans
The recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week gives a 65% improvement in sleep quality according to a study carried out by the National Sleep Foundation - just another reason to exercise regularly!
Nutrition for Better Sleep
Food and sleep go hand in hand. A good diet helps you sleep well and a good rest improves your eating habits. The right diet of foods at the right time of day can help you get to sleep, while the wrong ingredients keep you awake at night.
"Keep meals regular - skipping meals can alter hormones in your circadian rhythm which regulates your sleeping patterns and cycles. Eating a largely plant-based diet, rich in fruit, vegetables, cereals, grains, nuts and seeds can help to keep your body weight healthy and avoid spikes in blood sugar which may help to improve the quality of your sleep patterns."
- Veronica from Eat And Think
Caffeine and sugars are stimulants and help during the day, but be sure to steer clear of them at night.