After the clocks went forward last Saturday, many of us have been left feeling slightly disjointed and more than a little dissatisfied with the amount of sleep we’re getting. It’s been proven that we require a certain amount of sleep for the brain and body to sort itself out. We all have our night time routines, but what are the best ways to settle into a good night’s sleep so you wake feeling full of beans the next morning?
Watch what you eat
We’ve all heard that cheese makes you dream, but going to bed too full or too hungry can also stop you sleeping well. The best advice is not to eat anything in the hour before you go to sleep so that you’ve started to digest your night time nibbles. The same goes for drinking: too much water and you’ll be waking up every few hours for the toilet, and too little, you’ll get dehydrated, which may also wake you up.
Alcohol and caffeine also wreak havoc on your sleeping pattern by keeping you awake. Even if the alcohol seems to initially knock you out, later in the night it can cause problems. Sober up before bedtime and limit the caffeine in the evenings!
Have a bedtime ritual
Whether it be taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or maybe a spot of meditation. Doing the same thing every night before you nod off helps your body get ready for sleeping by letting you relax. Dim the lights, turn off the bright screens, and chill out!
Timing is key
Whether it’s a weekday or the weekend, getting up and going to sleep at the same time has proven to be better for you than lying in on the weekends. Obviously a late night out requires a little more sleep to help with the hangover, but you get the idea… Try going to sleep and getting up at the same time every day for a couple of weeks and see if this helps.
Are you sleeping enough?
Young adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night in order to function at their best, so the best way to get enough is to work out what time you need to get up and work back from there to see what time you need to go to bed. Recently, scientists have remarked on the importance of sleep cycles in order to get the best night’s sleep and not wake up groggy. A sleep cycle lasts between 70 and 100 minutes depending on the person, so if you aim to sleep in multiples of 90 minutes then that’s probably about right – that’s basically around 6 or 7 cycles a night.
More on Cycles
Sleep cycles are made up of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. During NREM sleep, we have little muscle activity and our eyes do not typically move, but all of our muscles retain their ability to function. In REM, we have bursts of rapid eye movements – this is the stage where dreams occur and movement of our body is often impossible. You can download apps to your phone that can help calculate when you should sleep and wake up so you get the best night’s sleep.
Edited by: Amy Hawthorne