Health & wellbeing

Pillow talk: how to sleep better (and feel better too!)

Say no to another sleepless night with these 5 tips.

When the clocks change and you lose an hour from your day, it can be tough to adjust to a new bedtime. But there are plenty of ways to get the rest you need, no matter what the clock says.    

Even just one night’s poor sleep can cause you to feel irritable, but a continued lack of sleep can affect your overall health and put you at an increased risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Check out these 5 surprising health benefits of sleep.

How much sleep we need varies from person to person but as a general rule, we should aim to get around eight hours of quality sleep every night. If you regularly wake up feeling groggy when your alarm goes off, you’re probably not getting enough sleep. But don’t worry – you can change your sleeping habits and improve the quality of your shut-eye with our easy checklist.

 

1. Wind down


To prepare for a good night’s sleep, start a ‘wind down’ routine to help you switch off and relax and stick to it every night. It could include taking a warm bath, doing some gentle yoga stretches, reading a book, listening to the radio or a podcast, or even writing a to-do list for the next day. A relaxing ritual will help signal the body and mind that the time to sleep is coming.

 

2. Set a bedtime


They’re not just for children! Family and work commitments can sometimes make a regular bedtime difficult, but it’s important to stick to a set schedule so your internal clock can regulate. By going to sleep at the same time every night, your brain will know it’s ‘sleep time’ and get settled into a routine.

 

3. Create a cocoon


Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary by clearing out any distractions. That means no TVs, computers, or gadgets that give off light and noise. Also consider upgrading your mattress to improve comfort and using thick, dark curtains or blackout blinds to keep your bedroom dark. Check out these 5 tips for a sleep-friendly bedroom.

 

4. Move more


Exercising regularly can help relieve built-up tension, making it easier for us to fall asleep at night. But don’t schedule your workout for just before bed, as that can have the opposite affect and keep you awake.

 

5. Say no to a nightcap


Although a small tipple before bed might help you fall asleep faster, research has shown that your quality of sleep is greatly reduced when there’s alcohol in your system. So swap your usual nightcap for a milky drink, herbal tea or even just a glass of water, and you’ll be much more likely to wake up feeling well rested – and you’ll probably snore less, too!

RELATED: Stop snoring, lose weight?