We all need it: sleep. And apparently because of the way we live, we’re generally getting less sleep than we need, which is having an effect on our health and our performance at work.
Adults are advised to have at least 7 hours a night and teenagers need 9 hours (although many of them will sleep through to the afternoon of course!). The first third of your sleep is the most restorative, so you need to try to make sure those first few hours are as undisturbed as possible.
1. Watch something you love
If you like to watch the television before bed, watch something you love and know well. Your brain won’t be stimulated and it won’t cause anxiety. Watching the next episode of a box set you’re addicted to isn’t ideal as your brain will be stimulated, scared, excited… not conducive to good sleep!
2. Get your bedroom ready
There a number of ways to keep your room cool during summer. Firstly, keep curtains closed throughout the day. This will stop the heat building up inside your room. And in the hour before bed, open the windows around the house to allow a draft to blow through. If you’re using a fan in your room, try putting a bowl or container of ice in front of it – the air passing over it will be cooled. And use cotton sheets: they’re good at absorbing moisture, so your skin doesn’t stay sweaty.
3. Turn your screens to night-time mode
WE LOVE technology, of course we do. But if you’re an avid phone user before bed, make sure you use the night-screen option that most of them have now. And while IOS was the first to introduce this, Android now also have the option. Plus, there are a number of apps available on Google Play, such as Bluelight Filters.
4. Turn off gadgets and technology at bedtime
Turn off all gadgets – set your television to automatically turn off at a certain time, just in case you doze off while watching it. You might think it’s good to fall asleep watching it, but if it stays on while you’re sleeping, it will affect those first important hours of sleep. All our televisions have this function and if you need a hand finding it, please just ask.
Make sure your phone is off rather than just on silent; if it’s still active, you are more likely to be tempted to check messages just before bed and that can raise anxiety levels: you want your body to lower its cortisol (stress hormone) levels before sleep.
5. Read for just 6 minutes!
Reading a book is a really good way to reduce stress levels. Studies have shown it only needs six minutes of reading to have a significant effect on your body. Don’t believe it? Just try it! The proof is in the pudding!