Ensuring we achieve a high quality of sleep is essential to our overall wellbeing, in both physical and mental terms.
For some of us, drifting off into a peaceful sleep can be a challenge. Unfortunately, when our sleep is negatively impacted, it can cause problems in other parts of our lives. This is because the amount of quality sleep we have can contribute to our energy, moods, focus and blood pressure!
If you are currently struggling to clock in the appropriate amount of sleep, there are some simple, but effective changes you can make to your sleep routine and space which may improve the quality of your sleep.
All our information is provided by the National Sleep Foundation and the NHS website. If you are really struggling with your sleep, it is advised to speak to a medical practitioner who should be able to support you further.
How Can We Judge Our Quality of Sleep?
Quality of sleep is not only based on the length of time you sleep, but also the depth of sleep achieved.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, you should be asleep for 85% of the time while in bed. This means no TV in bed, just sleep!
Furthermore, to ensure you get the best night’s sleep, drifting off should be achieved within 30 minutes of settling down on the pillow.
Finally, to ensure sleep is the best it can be, ideally, you only want to be waking up once throughout the night at the most.
Discover how you can improve the quality of your sleep if you are struggling with any of the above.
Plan a Routine
To keep on top of the quality of your sleep, creating a sleep schedule is thoroughly recommended.
Set specific times for waking up and going to bed and make sure you stick to them every day.
Don’t allow yourself to lie in past the waking up time you set, as the body and mind need to associate the bed with sleep. Having a scheduled sleep plan will help to stabilise your body clock.
Try not to nap in the day, as this can potentially disrupt your body clock and make sleeping harder at night.
Try to Gently Wind Down
Think about what helps you to relax. This could be reading a book, having a nice warm drink or even a lovely hot bath with some relaxing bath salts
Use these relaxation practises to help you wind down in the evening to help prepare your mind and body for sleep. However, read outside of your bedroom if possible as the bed is only for sleeping and needs to clearly associate with this!
Reduce Your Screen Time In the Evening
In the evening, try to decrease viewing a screen. This could include:
• A smartphone
• A tablet
• A laptop
• A computer
• A TV
• Other electronic Devices
Experts believe that looking at these screens can reduce the amount of melatonin produced in our brains, which is a crucial contributor to how easily we fall asleep. The blue light from the screens increases the feeling of alertness when we should finding ways to wind down our brains before sleeping.
In turn, screens can delay the body’s circadian rhythm, which is basically an internal clock and consequently disrupt the quality of sleep.
Consequently, if you have a TV in your bedroom, it is best to remove it to avoid the temptation of, firstly, watching it in bed, and secondly disrupting your sleep pattern.
Re-consider Your Sleep Environment
Maintaining a comfortable sleeping space that feels safe and cosy can go a long way in improving your quality of sleep.
Ensure that your room is dark enough at night. If not, you may need to invest in some thicker curtains to ensure any outside lights are not able to filter through into the room. Alternatively, you could also use an eye mask.
Try to keep your room at a reasonable temperature. If it is cold, you may need a thicker duvet or blanket.
On the other hand, if it is too warm, you may need to keep windows slightly open to allow a breeze into the room.
Re-evaluating your bed might be necessary if you find you cannot get comfortable when settling down. This may mean a change of pillows if they have become quite flat, or even a new mattress if the springs are uncomfortable to lay on.
If you find that noise surrounds your house at night, such as traffic, you may need to buy some earplugs to ensure that you are not being disturbed while sleeping.
The Effects of Alcohol on Sleep
Some people feel that alcohol helps them to drift off before sleep.
While this may feel true, it may not offer you the highest quality of sleep. Alcohol tends to help with light sleeping, but not a deep, restful sleep that you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Therefore, it is best to avoid alcohol at least an hour before you plan to sleep.
Avoid Strenuous Exercise
Exercise in the day is an excellent way to improve many aspects of your physical and mental wellbeing. Here at Ellevance, we know the importance of feeling physically and mentally healthy through exercise. Our all-natural hemp oil tablets and products can aid joints as well as cellular health and can promote an active lifestyle.
However, before you are sleeping, exercise should be avoided.
While it may make you think that you are physically tired, the effect on your brain is not the same and instead activates it. As a result, it can make sleeping more difficult. Instead, try some sleep specific yoga before bed, or try one of the other ways suggested to wind down such as reading or meditating.
Hopefully, if you are currently coping with poor quality of sleep, our guide can help you pinpoint areas of improvement for a better future of sleep. For more information on how Ellevance can support you in your physical and mental wellbeing, feel free to contact us via our website or social media.