Sleep better to live better
Sleeping better is one of the fastest ways to improving our health, our performance and our mood. It might seem easy enough but unfortunately sleep disturbances are becoming epidemic.
A national study in the UK showed that four in ten people aren’t getting enough sleep and one in five sleep poorly most nights. This makes sleep problems the second most common health complaint after pain.
So what can we do to sleep better? Though some of us are suffering from medical issues that can prevent us from having a great night’s sleep, for most of us there are a number of easy changes we can make to our lives that can help us to sleep better.
HOW TO SLEEP BETTER
Find 19 easy tips and advice on how you can make 2019 a year of great sleep!
- TURN OFF TO TURN IN. Switching off your electrical gadgets one hour before going to bed can help you to fall asleep faster. Research has shown that just 2 hours' exposure a day to the blue light from electronic displays suppresses our production of melatonin (the chemical that helps control our body's internal clock) by about 22%.
- GO BANANAS TO GO TO BED. By knowing our snooze foods we can fall asleep faster. There are some foods that can help you relax and fall asleep faster as they either contain or promote the release of melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep. Bananas contain not only tryptophan but also lots of magnesium, a muscle and nerve relaxant which can help ensure that you don’t wake up with cramp or muscle pain. Other magnesium-rich foods include sweet potatoes and prunes.
- WOOL YOUR WAY TO A BETTER SLEEP. Want to sleep deeper and longer? Try merino wool sleepwear. Researchers from Australia have found that sleeping in wool pyjamas instead of cotton gives you up to 15 minutes’ extra sleep. So let’s wool up and go to bed.
- MOVE. SLEEP. REPEAT. Exercising helps us to fall asleep, in particular if we do it outdoors and also get some extra exposure to light. You should do it 4-6 hours before going to bed though as intense exercise raise our core body temperature by up to 2°C making it difficult to fall asleep.
- YES TO SWEET. NO TO SWEAT. Did you know that the more intensely we dream the more we sweat? That is why you wake up in a sweat after a bad nightmare. By clearing our minds before going to bed we can try to have some sweet dreams, not sweaty nights.
- THE RIGHT JOB FOR THE RIGHT SLEEP. People who don’t feel supported by their co-workers are twice as likely to suffer from sleeping disorders (35% versus 18%). The more stress we feel at work, the less we sleep. In other words, there is no time to waste in improving a stressful work environment.
- TOMATOE, CHERRY, OLIVE…ZZZZZZ What we eat can help us fall asleep faster and to sleep longer. Some types of foods contain naturally large amounts of melatonin such as tomatoes, olives, barley, rice, walnuts, milk and cherries. And they are healthy too so it’s a win-win!
- KEEP THE RIGHT DEGREE. In a nationwide German poll, 38% of women and 44% named being too warm or too cold as the most commonly disturbing factor for a good night’s sleep. And medical research is backing that up, if our temperature shifts during our night our sleep duration and quality will suffer. By wearing temperature regulation sleepwear we can sleep deeper and longer.
- PUT THE CAP BACK ON Not only have the number of people sleeping poorly increased the past 20 years but we also consume sleeping pills at a rate never seen before. The global sleeping aids market accounted for $62 billion and is expected to continue growing. Though sleeping aids at times are essential, it’s important to treat the problem rather than the symptom and put the cap back on that pill jar.
- IT’S JUST WHITE NOISE. For a great night’s sleep we need peace and quite. This can at times be challenging but if you find yourself in a noisy environment try ear plugs or an electronic device that makes white noise to drown out any disturbing sounds.
- COOL IT. Did you know that our bedrooms now are about 5ºC warmer than in 1971? Better central heating and home insulation have made the room temperatures more comfortable during the day but can lower our sleep quality during the night, if we can’t release excess heat. Breathing in cold air is beneficial to reduce our core temperature so crank down that thermostat and enjoy a better sleep.
- NUTS FOR SLEEP? If you are nuts for some better sleep try eating some nuts before going to bed. Foods containing tryptophan, an essential amino acid that acts as a natural mood regulator and is the precursor to melatonin, has been shown to boost sleep. This can be found in foods such as turkey, wild-caught fish, sesame seeds, cashews and almonds as well as beans and legumes
- SHARING IS NOT ALWAYS CARING Sharing a bed can sometimes make sleeping well more difficult. It’s important that the bed is big enough and ideally children and pets should sleep in their own beds. Agreeing on the right temperature can be challenging at times, this is where functional sleepwear that regulates your individual temperature can be of a big help.
- FILL UP THE TUB Taking a warm bath before we go to bed causes our body temperature to rise and then fall rapidly making us sleepy. A warm bath also stimulates the release of the hormone oxytocin which makes us feel relaxed and calm. So fill up the tub and enjoy some sweet dreams!
- PUT SOME HEAT ON YOUR FEET If you have cold feet warming them up before going to bed can help you fall asleep faster, you can do this by taking a foot bath or by wearing sleep socks. If our hands and/or feet are too cold our core temperature won't drop, preventing us from falling asleep.
- SLEEP WALKER Regular exercise improves our sleep, by helping us to fall asleep faster and sleep better. Doing sports for at least 150 minutes a week can improve sleep quality by 65%. That might seem like a lot but try to get some low-intensity exercise on a daily basis, as little as 10 minutes of walking can make a big difference to the quality of our sleep.
- MUSCLE UP. MUSCLE DOWN If you find you can’t sleep due to stress, try progressive muscle relaxation. Work through your body from your toes to the tip of your head, tensing each of your muscles as tightly as you can and then relaxing them completely.
- TMI? GO TO BED Suffer from information overload? Then it’s time to go to bed! When we sleep our memory is doing a cleaning shift, storing important information and getting rid of the junk. So stop multi-tasking and get some sleep instead.
- DON’T SWEAT IT Sweating is totally normal and our bodies tool to thermoregulate, the is however sometimes a restless sleep. Our body on average contains 60% water and we have 4 million sweat glands to be able to manage heat and temperature increases. We lose up to 2.5 liters of fluid every day and we sweat on average one cup every night . With the wrong materials this can lead to uncomfortable wetness on our skin.The solution?Moisture regulating sleepwear and a cool room temperature.
If you want to know more about how you can improve you can read more from professor Åkerstedt, a sleep expert from the Stockholm University in Sweden. you can also try some functional sleepwear, scientifically proven to boost your sleep comfort. Dagsmejan Balance has been developed to help you to keep the best sleep temperature for a longer and deeper sleep. Find out how the best pjs for night sweats can improve your sleep.
- 6x more breathable than cotton, keeps your skin 1°C cooler.
- 4 x better at drawing sweat away from the skin