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Furniture Village — The 24-hour sleep guide — A guide to a good night's sleep
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What keeps you awake at night

Furniture Village — The 24-hour sleep guide — A guide to a good night's sleep Furniture Village — The 24-hour sleep guide — A guide to a good night's sleep

“There’s no doubt that we live in an incredibly distracting world. We’re constantly bombarded by artificial light, digital devices, noise pollution and on-demand entertainment – and that’s on top of the stresses of work and family life. It’s all too easy to see how our demanding lifestyles stand in the way of good quality sleep. Take the first step by working out what's keeping you awake, and then learn what you can do to help yourself to better sleep.”

Dr Ranj, Furniture Village sleep ambassador

The factors that can cause you to sleep poorly

Poor sleep can affect every aspect of your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. If you struggle to get to sleep at night and stay asleep, it’s time to work out what’s keeping you awake. Here are some of the main culprits.

Furniture Village — The 24-hour sleep guide — A guide to a good night's sleep

1. Light

Light – usually daylight – tells your body when it’s time to wake up and when it’s time to go to sleep. But too much light in your bedroom, like strong overhead lighting, can interfere with these messages and be what’s keeping you awake.

Furniture Village — The 24-hour sleep guide — A guide to a good night's sleep

2. Noise

Night time noise – from neighbours, traffic, domestic appliances, electronics and even members of our own household – can lead to a disturbed night’s sleep, night after night.

Furniture Village — The 24-hour sleep guide — A guide to a good night's sleep

3. Clutter

An untidy space can weigh on our minds and keep us awake, as it reminds us of unfinished tasks. And if you also use your bedroom for working or watching television, you may be associating your sleeping space with more active tasks.

Furniture Village — The 24-hour sleep guide — A guide to a good night's sleep

4. Screens

Our laptops, tablets and smartphones really do keep us awake at night. They emit blue light which can suppress melatonin, the hormone that’s important for regulating our sleep/wake cycles.

Furniture Village — The 24-hour sleep guide — A guide to a good night's sleep

5. Heat

If we’re too hot in bed, we find it hard to get to sleep and stay asleep. Even though we all like to get cosy in bed at times, a too-warm bedroom or bedding that retains heat or moisture can keep us awake.

The quality of our sleep has a direct impact on our physical health and mental wellbeing.

Furniture Village — The 24-hour sleep guide — A guide to a good night's sleep

The Sleep Council’s tips and tricks for a good night's sleep

We asked The Sleep Council for advice on getting a good night’s sleep and how to deal with what keeps you awake.

  • Tip 1: Prepare your bedroom for sleep

    Your bedroom might well be what's keeping you awake. The right sleeping environment really can make a difference to the quality of sleep you enjoy every night.

    • Bed
    • Bedding
    • Light
    • Colour Scheme
    • Smell of Room
    • Sounds in Room
    • Interior Design
    • Tech
    • Screens
    • Declutter
    • Invest in a good bed

      Part of getting a good night’s sleep is being comfortable in bed. If you’re buying a new bed or mattress, make sure you think about the amount of support you need. Fabric is important for temperature control when it comes to mattresses, too. Think of it as an investment and try to get the best bed for you within your budget.

    • Choose appropriate bedding

      Choosing the right bedding fabric is essential for restful sleep. Cotton is often a preferred choice for both bedding and nightwear as it’s breathable, wicks moisture and stays comfortably cool against the skin.

      Make sure you use the right tog duvet for the time of year. You could even have two duvets, one for winter and one for summer, or use layers of bedding that you can add and take away. If you’re not comfortable in bed – because you’re too hot or too cold – your sleep won’t be as deep as you’ll move about more, leading you to wake up feeling tired and unrefreshed.

    • Turn down the light

      A dark room is most conducive for sleep as light tells your body it’s time to wake up. In darkness, your body releases a hormone called melatonin that helps you to drift off. Sleeping with the light on is definite no.

      Switch off the ceiling light before bedtime and opt for mellow mood lighting in the form of bedside table lamps instead.

    • Avoid over-stimulating colours

      Some believe that rich deep colours, such as purple, gold and red as part of your bedroom décor, can be stimulating, resulting in poor sleep. Pastels, in particular blue, green and yellow, are calming shades that can help create a more relaxing environment.

    • Introduce relaxing scents

      Some smells can affect your mood and make you feel more relaxed and calm. Try sprinkling a potpourri with essential oils of lavender or geranium, but please remember that these shouldn’t be used during pregnancy or in children’s bedrooms.

    • Listen to soothing sounds

      Steady low sounds are soothing and help block out other noises. Some people may find listening to white noise or relaxing sounds help them sleep better. Listening to soothing music before bed can calm the mind, making it easier to fall asleep.

    • Be mindful with interior design

      Your sleep space should ideally be somewhere you feel calm, safe and happy. Adorn your bedroom with beautiful things such as photographs of loved ones, artwork that you like, or plants and flowers. It will help you feel more connected to your bedroom and look forward to going to bed.

    • Switch off the tech

      Switch off your smartphone, tablet, laptop and TV at least an hour before bedtime – and that includes your phone. Non-stop stimulation from screens wreaks havoc when we’re trying to fall asleep.

    • Try an e-reader

      Not all screens are created equal. If you enjoy e-books, use an e-reader, like the Kindle, rather than a tablet. These use e-paper tech instead of LCD screens, a technology that’s easier on the eyes in the time before sleep. Or just go for a regular paper book!

    • Tidy up

      It’s much harder to switch off in a messy room. Try to clear things away as you go – fold the laundry and tidy up the paperwork – so that by the time you get into bed your room is distraction-free.

      Create a calm and clutter-free bedroom with bedroom furniture that’s both stylish and functional.

  • Tip 2: Work out how to share a bed successfully

    One of the most common causes of poor sleep is partner disturbance. All that snoring, duvet hogging, turning over, and overheating could be what’s keeping you awake.

    Synchronise your sleep

    If you share a bed, try to go to bed with your partner at the same time at least three nights a week. Different body clocks mean many couples tuck up at different times, but alarm bells should sound when this starts to happen every night of the week.

    Change your duvet

    If duvet hogging is an issue, opt for a duvet that’s larger than the bed size, or even try separate duvets.

    Invest in a bigger bed

    It’s always a good idea to buy as big a bed as budget and room size allow. A standard double bed is only 4’6” wide, which gives each person just the width of a baby’s cot to sleep in. A bigger bed, like a king size bed, means more room – and this means less partner disturbance.

    Stop the snorer

    When snoring becomes a significant and ongoing problem, seek help. What may start as a minor niggle can become a major issue for many couples, so try to sort it out.

    Try separate rooms

    If you and your partner have very different sleeping habits, it could be better for your relationship to consider separate beds. This choice needn’t come with negative connotations. For many couples it’s a very practical decision, and shouldn’t impact on your intimacy as you can still share a bed whenever you want to.

  • Tip 3: Be proactive when you struggle to sleep

    Lying awake desperately trying to fall asleep is, as we all know, one of life’s great frustrations. But staring at a dimly-lit ceiling will likely make you feel more restless. Here’s what to do instead to confront what’s keeping you awake.

    Distract yourself

    Get out of bed and do something different – something peaceful and calming – for 15 minutes before trying again. Read a couple of chapters of your favourite book, or make yourself a milky drink or a cup of caffeine-free herbal tea.

    Practice deep breathing

    Relaxation techniques including deep breathing – and even counting sheep – can be surprisingly successful in hastening restful sleep. Different tactics work for different people, though, so don’t be discouraged if you have to experiment with a couple of different strategies to find the one that’s right for you.

    Make a to-do list

    If an overactive mind is keeping you awake or you’re thinking about all the things you have to do the following day, get out of bed and make a list. Taking tasks out of your head and onto a piece of paper can free up your brain to accept sleep.

    Don’t try to find sleep

    It may sound counterintuitive but actively trying to find sleep can make you feel more wakeful. Allow sleep to find you by going to bed only when you feel ready or, if you can’t sleep, by doing something relaxing instead.