To mark World Sleep Day (13th March), at tombola bingo we’ve been discussing the importance of getting a decent 40 winks. Not only does it give your body a chance to repair and re-energize, but it also helps to improve your memory and attention span, spur creativity and even lower the chances of you developing serious illnesses in later life.
So how can you improve your sleeping habits? We asked four bloggers for some of their top tips for a good night’s sleep so we can all improve our nightly routine.
Emma, from the Miss Pond blog had three great suggestions for us to factor into our routines:
“Make sure your duvet is a good one! Pick the appropriate tog for the time of year, as being too warm or too cold is the deciding factor between a good or a bad night’s sleep. Tog is a measurement of weight that companies use to distinguish different duvets from one another. In spring/autumn you want a duvet ranging from 7-10 tog, in summer 3-4 tog, and in winter 12-14 tog.
Burn some essential oils. Lavender is a delicate scent that is always recommended for relaxation. Invest in an oil burner and burn the oil an hour or two before you go to sleep to fill the room with this delicate scent. It might be nice to do this whilst reading a book in bed, which may help you relax and aid your sleep further.
Clean your duvet and pillows regularly. Cleaning your duvet and pillows every couple of months will help to keep them in shape and stop them from getting too lumpy or flat, which can lead to a bad night’s sleep. Most modern washing machines will have duvet wash settings.”
Sarah, the brains behind The Squat Bot, was also kind enough to share her top tips for getting a decent 40 winks:
“Break the caffeine habit. It’s easy to get into a vicious cycle of sleeping badly and then using caffeine to keep you going throughout the day, but this is turn prevents you from sleeping at night. Break the habit by refraining from tea, coffee, or anything caffeinated after 2pm, and drinking water or herbal teas instead. It will be tough at first, as you readjust, but soon you will find yourself drifting off more easily and having more energy throughout the day.
Quit the TV before bed. I find the nights I sleep the worst are when I’ve had a very, very lazy day without much activity! Watching TV all day makes you feel exhausted but unnaturally stimulates your brain, making it difficult for it to shut off come bedtime.
Meditate. Sometimes there are so many thoughts, ideas and anxieties running around our heads that it’s impossible to switch off and sleep. Mindful meditation is not so much about emptying your head of thoughts, but more about recognising these thoughts and not letting them affect you. The process is easier than you might think and there are now apps and podcasts to guide you through your meditation and help you relax before bed.”
“Follow a regular wind down routine. Get into the routine of winding down every night before bed by reading a book, listening to music or having a relaxing bath. Delay going to bed if you feel tense.
Manage work/home boundaries. Try not to let work spill over into your entire evening and bedtime. Allow your mind to wind down and switch off.
Exercise. Regular exercise – whether it’s high-intensity or a brisk walk – is the most effective way of reducing stress hormone levels, enabling you to sleep more deeply.”
Our fourth blogger, Charlie, from Gin Fuelled Blue Stocking, had some great advice, particularly for those having difficulty drifting off:
“Turn off your phone. The blue screen has a particularly stimulating effect on our brains and can keep you lying awake, staring into the darkness. If you need to work in bed, the laptop is a better option, but if you can ditch both and have half an hour without either, you’ll feel all the better for it. That little blinking light can wait until morning. I promise.
Revisit your day. If sleep eludes you, it’s often worth revisiting your day. Not by going over incidents and issues, but in minute detail. This works a charm for me – lie there and recount your day, from getting up, cleaning your teeth, washing your face and feeding the cat, to putting your socks on, making your coffee and catching the bus. If you make it to lunch time, I’d be surprised.
Get up. If you’re still struggling to sleep, then get up. No, honestly, get up, and go through the bedtime motions again. Visit the bathroom, even re-clean your teeth and cuddle the dog. Just acting out this routine again can reset your brain a little and remind it that it’s bed time.”
Whether you need to focus on improving the quality of your sleep or just getting more hours in, there’s bound to be some of these tips that you can put to good use. And as far as we’re concerned, they all beat counting sheep!