When’s the last time you woke up and felt really well-rested? Whether you’re battling with teething babies, midnight-wandering toddlers, you’re staying up too late or you’ve got lots on your mind, thousands of us will ‘fess up to struggling when it comes to sleep.
Research for The Sleep Council in 2013 found that more than a quarter of us are experiencing poor quality sleep on a regular basis – and not getting enough Zs can have a real impact on your day-to-day activities.
A report published by CV-Library today has found that over three-quarters of Brits admit that a bad night’s sleep negatively impacts on their working day, with 27% of people admitting to feeling exhausted on a daily basis. You need your sleep to make sure you’re feeling and looking your best, and operating at full capacity – and by the looks of it, not enough of us are getting that.
So how you beat the plague of a restless night? We’ve got a few tips to help you on your way to the land of nod…
Stick to a schedule
Just like we give our kids a set bedtime, set one for yourself. Experts say we need between seven and eight hours’ sleep a night, so if you have to get up at 6? Aim for 10pm – or even earlier if you anticipate mid-night interruptions like wandering children…
If possible, set yourself a little pre-bed routine of relaxation. Maybe a bath, a warm drink or time with a book – quiet, non-energetic activities that’ll get you in the sleep zone. With three-quarters of Brits telling CV-Library that workplace stress is disrupting their sleep, take the time to relax and unwind before bed.
The blue light emitted by our mobile phones and laptops actually affects your sleep – so ditch screens an hour before bed for a better night’s sleep. Remove screens from your bedroom too – this’ll help you resist the temptation to play with your phone if you’re having trouble nodding off.
If you’re partial to a post-work nap, it’s time to give it up. If you’re napping during the day, you’re not going to be tired come bedtime – so keep powering on and you’ll be more than ready for bed when the time comes.
Sometimes, we’re having difficulty sleeping because we simply aren’t tired. A great way of wearing yourself out is to do some exercise. Just like you’ll let your kids run around in the outdoors to wipe them out and encourage a nap, us adults need to get active in order to prepare our bodies for bed. So get out for a walk, go for a run or head to the gym a couple of times a week.
Ditch the caffeine
A wee cup of tea before bed isn’t going to help – the caffeine will leave you wired. Avoid tea, coffee and caffeinated soft drinks in the evening. Go instead for a soothing herbal tea or warm milk to help yourself unwind.
Avoid big meals
A huge meal after 8pm isn’t going to help you sleep – you’ll still be digesting it by the time you head to bed. Opt for something lighter, and try not to snack throughout the evening too. Step away from the crisps…
If you can’t get your sleeping habits under control, it might be time to seek help. If you’re worried about your ability (or inability) to get some shut-eye, make an appointment to see your GP, who might be able to offer some support or refer you to a specialist.