We spend 33 years of our lives sleeping. 7 of those years are spent trying to get to sleep. Just think of all the Netflix series you could have binged...
On average, as adults, we need around 8-9 hours of sleep a night. We all get told how important sleep is for us, but do we really know why? The 8-9 hours is really more of a 'recommended' figure. Every person functions differently and some people can actually function healthily on much less than your average 8 hours!
But for some people, even getting just a few hours of quality sleep can be difficult, let alone 8. That's why we wanted to create this handy guide full of tips and tricks to help you get a better night's sleep.
Yep. That thing you spend 33 years of your life in.
That's why investing in a good quality mattress is worthwhile, especially when you spend a third of your life in it! It essentially pays for itself.
It should go without saying, but your bed plays a huge role in the quality of your sleep.
Even if you are one of the lucky souls who drop off within minutes, that old mattress may still be affecting the quality of your sleep. And poor quality sleep can be just as harmful as no sleep at all.
How old is your mattress? Most online sleep experts recommend replacing your mattress every 8 years. And it’s not just a ploy to sell more mattresses - they really do lose their structure and therefore support and comfort over time.
Is your mattress providing the right amount of support? Some like their beds soft and forgiving, some like a memory foam topper, some like their bed to be very firm. This really is down to personal preference.
And finally, what is your mattress made of? There are many different options out there now, and one you may not have previously considered is wool…..
We have a HerdySleep mattress, and I have to say it is hands down the most comfortable mattress we have ever owned.
This UK-made mattress is topped with Herdwick wool from the Lake District - a durable natural fibre that is amazing for regulating body temperature. Through the cold nights as well as the long (unseasonably) hot summer this mattress has never felt too warm or too cold. To be honest it’s amazing I never want to get out of bed!
While your mattress is the biggest investment in your bedroom, your bedding and pillows are just as important.
Again, the possibilities here are endless, from fillings to weight and size and materials.
I’d recommend considering the following 3 questions when choosing your bedding…..
Do you and your partner squabble over the duvet?
If so, get a bigger one! Or, another alternative (and often cheaper) it to buy two duvets instead! One each means you can also have a different weight if necessary.
Too hot or too cold?
If you wake up too hot or too cold your good night's sleep can be ruined. I personally think it’s better to be on the cool side of things, with an extra blanket at the foot of the bed when necessary. Oh, and I must admit I love a hot water bottle in the winter! Is it comfortable?
If your duvet is thin or too heavy and your pillows are flat and lumpy you're not going to have a great night's sleep. Investing in decent pillows and a duvet will ensure you get the best and most comfortable night's sleep.
Get Your Duvet On
Do you actually like your current duvet and pillow covers?
Does your bed look like a relaxing place that you want to be in? My mum still has a duvet set from years ago that she hates (it was a gift I think) but she still uses it because it’s good quality and still has plenty of wear left in it.
But she hates it! It’s not going to help you enjoy going to bed and snuggling under a duvet if you can’t stand the sight of it!
Invest in high-quality bedding - the best duvet and pillows you can afford, and bed linen that you LOVE - that makes you want to jump into bed!
We loved our HerdySleep mattress so much, we decided to try a wool-filled duvet as well - check out the range from Devon Duvets on Amazon.
When I was a kid I was scared of sleeping in the dark, but nowadays I definitely believe in the darker the better.
Blackout blinds or curtains are a must, and your choice here will very much depend on your windows. This could make the biggest difference if you live in an area with a lot of street lights, although the light from the moon can disturb some people.
My top tip if you have curtains, is to keep them as long as possible. Otherwise, you get a lovely light glow from the bottom!
As well as blocking light from outside, check your bedroom for those pesky standby lights or glowing alarm clocks.
There is nothing worse than being woken up by your alarm clock when it’s still pitch black and then having to turn on a bright light. It’s a very stressful way to start the day for both our bodies and our minds!
For many years we’ve relied on ‘sunrise’ type lights - whether part of an alarm clock or more recently as ‘smart’ lights.
These are lights such as the Phillips Hue system which you can pre-program to mimic a sunrise (or sunset) so the light gets gradually lighter. You can time it to coincide with your alarm, so it will start to get gradually lighter for 15-20 minutes before your scheduled alarm time. You will probably find you wake up naturally, before your alarm, feeling much more refreshed.
The only way to survive early mornings during winter!
And then in the evening, you can set it to slowly fade as you drift off to sleep…..
That’s your bedroom set - you have a comfy mattress, and bedding that suits you and that you love, and when your lights go off (automatically) you’ll be in a totally dark room. So what’s next?...
A lovely hot bath before bed can help to relax you.
You can check out the Drift Off page for all the "sciency" stuff, but here I'd like to tell you why I take Drift Off.
Even though I'm a pretty good sleeper (the power nap is my superpower) I take Drift Off every night, about half an hour before going to bed. I find it helps me to feel more physically relaxed, and I drop off to sleep within minutes.
I also feel that the quality of my sleep is improved with Drift Off. I sleep deeper, less tossing and turning, and I wake up feeling refreshed.
I've also found, as a woman, that with Drift Off I feel more 'emotionally balanced', and less likely to get cranky on certain days of the month.
Put It Away...
Finally, everyone's biggest demon when it comes to getting a good night's sleep... I know you have it there, don’t you, next to your bed??
In an ideal world you’d leave it outside the bedroom and would have wifi turned off, but let’s accept that’s not going to happen.
But you can leave it on your bedside table - looking at the bright and shiny screen right now with all its stimulating distractions is not going to help you sleep.
This is where I would recommend a good old-fashioned paperback book. Fiction please, something light and easy to read as you start to nod off.
If you really can’t be doing with ‘proper’ books, then a device like the Paperwhite Kindle is a great alternative, with no ‘blue’ light to affect your sleep.
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