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Tips for a better night’s sleep

When it comes to sleep it’s not only quantity that matters, it’s quality too. How you feel during the day hinges greatly on how long and how deeply you have slept the night before. Recent scientific studies have shown that sleep is absolutely crucial for our long-term health and wellbeing. Want to get to sleep, stay asleep and wake up feeling great? Here are our X top tips for a better night’s sleep.
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1. Stick to regular bedtimes

Go to sleep at the same time every night as much as possible. Keeping a regular sleep schedule, such as going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, will help your body set a natural alarm clock and leave you feeling refreshed and energised.

SLEEP TIP: Early nights pay off. Between 10pm and midnight is when the best, most restorative sleep takes place.

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2. Avoid caffeine or alcohol

All the best top tips for a better night’s sleep include this one. Caffeine is a stimulant that if taken too late in the day can keep you awake, preventing you from catching up on much-needed sleep. Although alcohol may help bring on sleep, after a few hours it can then act as a stimulant by waking you up and generally decreasing your quality of sleep. It’s also a good idea not to raid the fridge too late at night either.

SLEEP TIP: Don’t drink coffee in the afternoon and evenings if you are sensitive to caffeine.

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3. Keep your bedroom dark… and not too warm or cool

Turning the lights down can make you feel sleepy due to darkness boosting melatonin levels in the body. A dark and quiet bedroom can help you get to sleep quicker, and better. A room temperature of between 16 °C and 18 °C is ideal for most sleepers. Make sure your ceiling lights are not too bright, and think about layered, softer lighting in your bedroom.

SLEEP TIP: If you are disturbed by streetlights or early morning sun, consider getting black out curtains or blinds.

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4. Choose your mattress with care

Among the top tips for a better night’s sleep according to The Sleep Council, is having the right mattress. If you wake up with stiffness or aches, it could be because your mattress has seen better days. In fact, they recommend getting a new mattress every seven years to maintain your health and well-being. Well-known brands like Tempur and Vispring offer mattresses to suit all sizes, body shapes and sleeping styles.

SLEEP TIP: Everybody’s different, so make sure you try the different types of mattress to see what suits you best. Some people prefer pocket sprung mattresses, others memory foam mattresses, for example.

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5. Eat well and stay hydrated for better sleep

Some foods boost hormones that in turn boost the sleep hormone melatonin, so top tips for a better night’s sleep should always include advice on nutrition. Milk promotes serotonin; salmon increases sleep hormone producing B6; hummus is high in tryptophan that triggers melatonin; kale has calcium that helps make melatonin; and chamomile tea increases glycine, a nerve and muscle relaxant.

SLEEP TIP: Dehydration can affect the quality and length of sleep. Keep a glass of water by your bed.

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6. Choose the right bedding and pillows

The right bedding can ease you into slumber. Make sure you have the right duvet tog for the time of year: 4.5 in summer, 9 - 10.5 in autumn and spring and 13.5 - 15 in winter. Synthetic pillows should be replaced every six months to a year, and down and feather pillows every two to five years. Try memory foam pillows if you want solid support for your head and neck. If you sleep on your side, a pillow between your legs can minimise strain on the lower back. And a mattress topper can help ease hip pain.

SLEEP TIP: Fold your pillow in half and place a trainer on top of it. If the pillow doesn’t spring open, replace it.

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7. Turn off your mobile

Banishing mobile phones are high on the list of top tips for a better night’s sleep for a very good reason. Exposure to the blue light of your device suppresses melatonin, whether you’re scrolling social media till late or the light is shining from your bedside cabinet. Less melatonin makes it much more difficult for you to fall asleep.

SLEEP TIP: Switch your phone off, leave it in another room or put it on Do Not Disturb. Swap technology for a book or soft music instead.

8. Cut out the clutter

For better sleep, you want your bedroom to be a sleep sanctuary and not a dumping ground. Even simple steps like reducing the clutter, along with pale colours and pleasant aromas such as lavender and geranium essential oils can create a more relaxing sleep environment. An ottoman bed with hidden storage or sleek wardrobes can help.

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9. Get enough exercise, but earlier in the day

Exercise can improve insomnia and sleep apnea and increases the amount of time we spend in the deep, restorative stages of sleep. It also gives us energy throughout the day and tires us out. So get our your trainers in the morning and you might find your efforts pay off at bedtime. Experts recommend not exercising two hours before bed.

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10. Relax your body and mind

Now you need to get in the right frame of mind for sleep. Top tips for a better night’s sleep include a warm bath and writing a ‘to do’ list to clear your mind of worries. You can also try mindfulness exercises or meditation, they can help clear your mind of troublesome thoughts and help you drift off to sleep. The colour green is very relaxing, perhaps introduce it in your décor, or in accessories such as a green rug, wall art showing restful green hued landscapes or lush house plants.

SLEEP TIP: Some swear by the 4-7-8 sleep method for relaxation. Breathe in for four seconds, hold it for seven, then breathe out audibly for eight. It can help you drift off within 60 seconds.

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11. Take lack of sleep seriously

Do you have insomnia that our tips for a better night’s sleep won’t help? See a doctor, and perhaps keep a sleep diary prior to your GP visit. You might reveal a pattern or two. Your insomnia might be part of a wider problem, such as anxiety or low mood which can be helped by CBT techniques, again something to see your GP about.

Sleep is fundamental to looking good and feeling fantastic. 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted shut-eye allows us to rest and regenerate, and it can even improve memory, boost immunity and control appetite. We hope our 11 top tips for a better night’s sleep help in your quest. Who doesn’t want to be healthier, more productive, slimmer and happier?

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