Sleep is vital to our mental and physical health and with us living busy lives it is important to get the best quality sleep we can. The average adult should try to get between 6-9 hours of sleep each night with less than 6 hours being associated with sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can lead to symptoms such as irritability, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and depression to name a few.
Regular poor sleep can also increase your risk of medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes Type 2 and can suppress your immune system making you more vulnerable to illness.
So how can you get the best night’s sleep? Well according to The Sleep Charity, some small changes to your environment can help you enjoy a restful night.
- Temperature – an ideal bedroom temperature is between 16-18°C. Above 24°C can cause restlessness and below 12°C can make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Bed – make sure you replace your mattress ever 7-8 years as up to this time your mattress will have had over 20,000 hours of wear! We are all different and trying to get the right mattress will be an individual experience. Trying before you buy or buying one with a risk-free trial could help ensure you find the right mattress.
- Noise – reduce noise where possible such as turning off the tv, you can also try ear plugs or ‘white noise’ tapes to help create a calming environment.
- Remove distractions – try not to use your bedroom as an office or workplace and try and keep the room tidy. You room should be a sanctuary to escape life’s stresses.
- Be careful with caffeine and nicotine prior to sleep as these act as stimulants, with caffeine still able to have an effect for 6 hours after drinking.
- Light – light at night can influence our body clock’s (circadian rhythm’s) making it difficult for us to either get to sleep or get undisturbed sleep. The worse of these is blue light found from smartphones, computer/television screens, LEDs, E-readers etc. Try turning these devices off earlier than bedtime, using a screen filter and removing screens from the bedroom.
Make your bedroom a cosy environment to escape to with personal items such as pictures of family or artwork and plants and have comfortable pillows, duvet, and sheets. During the day make sure you get plenty of exercise, fresh air, and daylight to make falling sleep easier. If you are still struggling with sleep, try consulting the NHS or the National Sleep Healthline on 03303 530 541 for more support.