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5 signs your sleeping set-up is wrong.

Nothing beats the feeling of waking up after a long, refreshing night’s sleep. But, if your usual 40 winks are leaving you tired, stiff and grumpy instead, your sleeping set-up could be to blame. Here we explore 5 tell-tell signs that your bed, mattress or pillows could be ruining your slumber, plus some easy fixes to help resolve your sleeping problems for good.
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1. You’re getting neckache or tension headaches

Likely cause: You’re using the wrong pillow.

Waking up with neck pain or a headache can be incredibly frustrating, especially when the ache lingers through a busy day of meetings or catch-ups with friends. And although you shouldn’t rule out other medical factors, there’s a chance your pillow is the culprit.

A pillow that’s as stiff as cardboard or too high-up can cause those all-too-common morning aches and pains. Similarly, using two pillows instead of one can increase the stress on your neck and back through the night, leaving you aching come 7am.

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How to fix it:

First make sure you’re using the correct pillow for your favourite way of sleeping. A good pillow should keep your neck and spine in perfect alignment, which can be thrown out of kilter depending on your sleeping position.

According to the Harvard Medical School, people who sleep on their backs should opt for a rounded pillow to support the natural curve of their neck, and a flatter pillow to cushion the head. If you prefer curling up on your side when you sleep, Harvard recommends keeping your spine straight by using a pillow that’s higher under your neck than your head.

Memory foam pillows are another great investment if you don’t want to be purchasing a new pillow every year (because, quite frankly, who does!). The material moulds around your neck and body shape, offering the perfect amount of pressure to help you get a solid eight hours’ sleep.

2. You wake up in the middle of the night

Likely cause: Bad mattress.

It’s sheer torture, isn’t it? Endlessly tossing and turning through the night, or waking up at 2 or 3 a.m. wondering “Why am I awake?”. If you find this happens to you more than a couple days a week, your mattress could be the problem.

Any sort of lumps, bumps and valleys in your mattress can cause discomfort in your neck and back while you’re trying to sleep. And over the course of seven or eight hours this tension can really build up, ruining your chances of getting the soothing rest you need.

How to fix it:

Next time you’re about to hop into bed, quickly scan your mattress for any wear and tear, gaping holes or sharp springs sticking out. Make sure there aren’t any bumps or troughs that could be rubbing up against your neck or spine either and keeping you awake at night.

If your mattress isn’t in great shape, don’t be afraid to swap it for a new one. Experts recommend we change our mattress every ten years, so if you’ve had yours for longer than that, now’s the time to think about upgrading to one that takes better care of your back.

Not sure which mattress to choose? Some sleep experts recommend the Goldilocks approach. Nothing too soft or too hard – so you don’t sink into your bed or get a rock-hard mattress pushing into your back. Something like a pocket sprung mattress is the perfect go-to if you’re looking for a nice middle ground.

3. You’re waking up early even when you’re tired

Likely cause: Curtains and blinds letting in too much light.

Our bodies need a certain amount of darkness to achieve a decent night’s sleep. Too much light can upset your body’s natural clock by reducing the sleep-inducing chemical, melatonin, in your body – something no-one wants when they need to be alert and on top form the next day.

So, if you find yourself waking up early, especially when you want nothing more than a lovely lie in, it could be a sign you’re letting too much light into your room.

How to fix it:

Investing in some room-darkening blinds, shades and curtains is the easiest way to banish light from your room and stop any light pollution from seeping in. Even a small bit of sunlight or street light can cause your body to wake up, so make sure your curtain or blind set-up is as light-proof as possible, to get the right amount of darkness your body craves.

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4. You regularly feel cold in bed

Likely cause: Bed positioned in the wrong place.

Chilly toes and feet can make it particularly hard to sleep. And if you’re constantly re-arranging your blankets, or reaching for an extra jumper or two in the middle of the night, the chances of you getting a decent sleep are quite frankly, pretty low. So, if you’re feeling cold in bed, it may be worth checking whether the position of your bed is to blame, especially if you’ve already got your central heating on full blast.

How to fix it:

Something as simple as changing the position of your bed can stop you feeling cold and allow you to enjoy a warmer slumber. If your bedroom layout allows it, shift your bed away from any windows, for example, that may be letting in cold air.

If you’re bed’s lined up against a wall, not a window, it may be a hidden radiator that’s to blame. Beds positioned right by a radiator can stop heat circulating around the room, so a quick reshuffle of your bedroom furniture might be the quick fix that makes the world of difference. Another easy remedy is to buy some cosy but decorative rugs. Warm cotton, wool or faux fur throws won’t just help you feel cosy, they also give you a chance to add some extra chic to your room.

5. You can’t get to sleep until late

Likely cause: Gadgets and electronics in your room.

We all know our bodies need a certain amount of darkness to get a good night’s rest, but did you know that light emitted from TVs, smartphones and tablets can be particularly harmful to our sleep?

The blue and green wavelengths from your phone or laptop trick your brain into thinking it’s daylight, preventing the release of sleep-inducing chemicals, and making it harder to have a restful snooze. So if you find it’s taking you longer than usual to drift off to sleep, take at look at whether the gadgets in the bedroom are to blame.

How to fix it:

Most experts recommend keeping electronics out of your bedroom all together, as the blue and green light they emit can play havoc with your sleeping cycle. But if you can’t resist cheekily checking your Facebook feed when tucked up in bed, one option is to keep phones, computers and other gadgets face down or out of sight once you actually go to sleep. Having a gadget-free hour before you go to bed can work wonders too, and will help you enjoy that relaxing period of winding down for bed, in blissful peace.

The benefits of getting a good night’s sleep are immeasurable, so don’t let your sleeping set-up get in the way of your chances. Try a few of the quick fixes above and you might just nip your sleeping problems in the bud, leading to seriously satisfying slumber… every single night.

[1] https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/too-much-exposure-to-smartphone-screens-ruins-your-sleep-study-shows-10019185.html

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