Five tips for the best sleep ever
Why do I need a good night's sleep?
Sleep is hugely important. Not only is it lovely to be wrapped up in a cosy quilt, drifting off to sleep, but, as we all know, lack of sleep makes us irritable, our attention suffers, and we are more prone to illnesses from being run down.
And why wouldn't you want to sleep more? Or sleep better?
Ten million sleeping pill prescriptions are written each year in the UK, and the pandemic has led to even more sleep problems. But what can we do besides, or alongside, medication to help us sleep?
Some research suggests that it is not only the amount of sleep we get, but how we interpret the amount of sleep we get. Participants’ sleep has been monitored and 1/3 of those who complained about their sleep were actually good sleepers. So, what makes a good sleep? Are your standards of sleep too high?
If this is the case, a more relaxed, healthier view of sleep can actually lead to a better sleep, leaving you feeling well-rested.
Here are my top 5 tips for a better-quality, less disturbed, sleep!
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1. Pillow spray / diffuser
I absolutely love my diffuser and pillow spray. I put lavender and orange in my diffuser at night, and spray my bedsheets with lavender spray. Aromatherapy improves sleep quality, especially with lavender scents, which can suppress our stress response, allowing a relaxing, deep sleep. You can check out the diffuser, essential oils, and pillow spray I use - I tend to turn my diffuser on about half an hour before I go to bed to allow the scent to fill the room.
2. Herbal Teas:
A nice cup of tea is really relaxing, but which tea should you be drinking before bed? Green tea with lowered caffeine content can actually reduce stress and improve the quality of your sleep. Chamomile tea has also been shown to help sleep quality, with other herbal teas even reducing depressive symptoms.
3. The Right Pillow:
This is something I just couldn't get right, and would always wake up with a bad neck and a sore back, until I realised the type of pillow you need depends on the position you sleep in. Are you a side, front, or back sleeper?
The shape, and content, of the pillow are both important! Orthopaedic pillows are optimal for sleep quality. Research shows that people who use feather pillows consistently report low pillow comfort and bad quality of sleep. Contoured pillows that compliment the position you sleep in are the most suitable, with a cooling surface to keep temperature low, as slight cooling of the head helps deep sleep. Pillows designed specifically for people’s shoulder width and sleeping positions lead to significantly higher sleep quality.
4. Sleep Environment:
‘Sleep hygiene’ rules suggest that we sleep in a ‘cool, dark, and quiet’ environment. But what does that mean specifically? Complete darkness is definitely optimal for sleep, and the optimal temperature ranges between 15 and 19 degrees Celsius. As far as ‘quiet’ goes, your brain can process noise even while you’re asleep and so the quality of your sleep is definitely affected by environmental noise. Using a white / brown noise machine / relaxing nature sounds (I sometimes use Spotify!) can give you a better sleep by masking outside noises that can disturb your sleep.
5. Brain Dump:
If we don't regulate daily stress, our sleep can become disturbed. This means that if we cope with emotional stress and regulate our emotions, the effects had on our sleep will be reduced. Other negative emotions such as hostility also increases sleep impairments. Practising a 'brain dump', using a journal, or practising mindfulness to reduce stress will lead to a better quality of sleep - I've found journals like this one helpful to get my thoughts out before bed, or I sometimes just 'dump' my thoughts on a page!
I hope you find these useful! Share, like and comment if you enjoyed reading!