Heard of #sleeptember?
It’s an annual campaign – led by The Sleep Council – designed to raise awareness about the importance of sleep and good sleep hygiene. And here at Dreamers Bed Centre, we’re a huge supporter. After all, our ultimate goal is to help customers ‘save money and sleep better’.
Therefore, we thought it was the perfect time to explore what sleep hygiene actually is and suggest a few steps that you can take, to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep this September.
What is sleep hygiene?
Essentially, ‘sleep hygiene’ is the term used to describe healthy sleeping habits.
These habits involve both your daily routine and the bedroom environment, and are said to promote consistent and uninterrupted sleep. In fact, considerable research has now been conducted into this area and there’s a lot of evidence to suggest they can provide a long-term solution for sleeping difficulties. That’s why they’re commonly used to help treat people with chronic insomnia.
It’s all about replacing bad habits that disrupt sleep with good habits that are proven to enhance it.
How can I improve my sleep hygiene?
Improving your sleep hygiene isn’t difficult. It’s as simple as making a few subtle changes to your day-to-day routine. Here our resident sleep experts have created a 24-hour sleep hygiene checklist to get you on the right track. Why not challenge yourself? Stick to it for a week – or perhaps even the whole month of Sleeptember – and see how much of a difference it makes to your wellbeing.
24-hour sleep hygiene checklist
6am – set an alarm and get up at the same time every morning, even on the weekends.
Our body clocks love routine. And although getting rudely awoken at 6am may not be pleasant (especially on dark mornings!), it will strengthen your sleep system and you’ll feel much better.
7am – head outside
Try to expose yourself to natural light at the same time every morning. It doesn’t matter if it’s cloudy or raining. The light will reset your internal body clock and help to get rid of any grogginess.
8am-12pm – do at least 30 minutes of exercise
Exercise is an easy way to improve your sleep, making it deeper and more refreshing. But it’s important to do it early in the day. Whilst a brisk morning walk will do you the world of good, strenuous activities (that get the heart pumping) just before bedtime can be detrimental.
2pm – have your last caffeinated drink
Stimulants containing caffeine can significantly interfere with your ability to drop off to sleep. So, be sure to leave enough time (approximately 8 hours!) between your last caffeine intake and bedtime. If you plan to hit the hay at 10pm, this means having your last coffee at roughly 2 o’clock.
6pm-7pm – have a healthy meal
Eating a large meal just before bedtime can lead to discomfort and indigestion. On the flip side, being hungry or thirsty throughout the night will increase the chances of you waking up. Therefore, it’s important to find the right balance between the two. Our advice is to schedule enough time to prepare and eat a healthy meal around 6-7pm and have a small snack later if you’re peckish.
It’s also a good idea to avoid alcohol. A small glass of wine with dinner may sound tempting. But, although it’s a sedative, it can have a significant negative impact on the quality of your sleep.
9pm – avoid the use of electronic devices one hour before bedtime
Tablets, smartphones and other electronic screens emit a blue light, which prevents the production of melatonin (i.e. the hormone that makes us sleepy). What’s more, we typically use these devices for activities that keep us alert. So, swap them out an hour before bed for a relaxing alternative.
9.30pm – start to prepare the bedroom for sleep
To improve your chances of a good night’s sleep, the bedroom should be cool, dark and quiet. Try to achieve an optimum temperature of 16-18°C, shut the curtains and have a pair of earplugs to hand. You should also ensure your bed is as comfortable and supportive as possible.
10pm – hide the clocks
When struggling to drift off, many people start to clock watch. This can increase anxiety levels and further prevent you from falling asleep. So, make sure the clock face isn’t visible from the bed.
Think your bed may be the issue?
The checklist above is a fantastic scientifically-proven way to help improve your sleep. But no matter how well you commit to these daily changes – if your bed isn’t right – it will still be very difficult to achieve good sleep hygiene and get the long, uninterrupted rest that you need.
Luckily, here at Dreamers Bed Centre, we have a diverse range of beds and mattresses for you to choose from. Many of which are manufactured by leading brands, renowned for their comfort and quality – such as Mammoth and Hypnos – with something to suit all preferences and requirements.
So, why not take a look through our online collection today? And, remember, you’re always welcome to get in touch. Whether you’d like further sleep hygiene tips or a little advice on the best style and size of bed for you, we’re happy to help at any time. Either give us a call on 01942 275 464 or send an email to email@example.com and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.