We spend around a third of our life sleeping*, but some of us find it trickier to doze off than others.
If you’d like some help falling asleep or staying asleep, here are our top tips for better sleep.
Seven Tips for Better Sleep
1. To regulate your body clock, stick to a sleep schedule, where you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
2. Create a relaxing routing right before bedtime and separate your sleep time from activities – especially ones that cause excitement, stress or anxiety – as these can make it more difficult to doze off.
3. Avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. Power napping may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can’t fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short naps may help.
4. Make sure your bedroom is comfortable at night. The ideal temperature is around 18.5c and it should be free from any noise or light that can disturb your sleep. Try using blackout curtains, eyeshades, ear plugs or even white nose devices.
5. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. If you’ve been using one for over 10 years, it might be time to change it.
6. Avoid heavy meals in the evening, and ideally don’t eat anything large three hours before you go to sleep. Instead, try eating a light snack 45 minutes before bed if you’re still hungry.
7. Spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity, such as reading. For some people using electronic devices, such as a laptop, can make it hard to fall asleep because the type of light that emits from the screen activates the brain.
What Happens While You Sleep?
Have you ever wondered what happens while you sleep? Well, sleep is made up of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and NREM (non-rapid eye movement sleep). We spend 75% of the night in NREM and the rest in REM sleep. As we begin to fall asleep, we enter NREM sleep. First, we’re in a state between being awake and falling asleep – this is a light sleep.
Next, starts the onset of sleep where we become disengaged from surroundings and our breathing and heart rate becomes regular. At this time, our body temperature drops.
What follows is the deepest and most restorative sleep. Blood pressure drops, breathing becomes slower, muscles are relaxed, blood supply to muscles increases, tissue growth and repair occurs, energy is restored and hormones are released. These include growth hormone, which is essential for growth and muscle development.
REM sleep first occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep and reoccurs about every 90 minutes, getting longer later in the night. This part of our sleep provides energy to brain and body. What’s more, it supports daytime performance as the brain is active while we dream. It is then that our eyes dart back and forth and the body becomes immobile and relaxed, as muscles are turned off.