What’s keeping you up at night? 5 tips to help you sleep well

A good night’s sleep

A good night’s sleep (view our integrated blackout blinds) is just as important in keeping our minds and bodies healthy as a healthy diet and exercise, yet research shows that as many as 60% of us are struggling to sleep well. The odd bad night sleep is normal, for example, before an exam or during a bout of extreme stress, yet for some people, they find it impossible to nip it in the bud and get back on track.

The effects of a bad night’s sleep are immediate; we feel tired, lack motivation, and find it hard to concentrate, which often leads to worry about the lack of sleep. Over time, this can develop into further anxiety or even depression, as it becomes so difficult to remain upbeat and positive if we are always feeling tired. From a physical perspective, poor sleep has been linked to weight gain and heart disease, among other long-term conditions, making it clear that sleep is important. So how do we improve our sleep?

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Top tips for top sleep

Kathryn Pinkham, founder of The Insomnia Clinic, gives us her top 5 tips for sleeping well.

  1. Don’t spend too long in bed. The first thing we do when we can’t sleep is start going to bed earlier to try and increase our chances of sleeping. However, our body has a natural ‘appetite’ for sleep, which we can build up by being out of bed. So, rather than going to bed early and spending hours in bed awake, instead, go to bed later and set your alarm for the morning. Allow your natural drive to build up, as this will help you fall asleep faster and create a deeper quality of sleep.
  2. Stop clock-watching. The first thing we do when we wake up at night is check the time. This increases the pressure to fall back to sleep and makes it less likely as our minds start to race. Instead, set your alarm for the morning, then turn it away and resist the temptation to check the time when you wake. This can help break the habit of waking at the same time each night.
  3. Make use of the daylight when you wake up. Lift the blinds and let the natural daylight in so that your body begins to ‘learn’ when to be awake and when to feel sleepy. This is also really good for your mood, as spending time in a dark room when you wake up in the morning can make you feel worse.
  4. In the evenings and when you go to bed, keep the lights down and make sure your bedroom is darker, as this will help your body develop melatonin, the sleepy hormone you need to nod off.
  5. Don’t lie in bed awake. If you can’t get to sleep or have woken up in the middle of the night, get out of bed. The longer we lie in bed trying to fall back to sleep, the more frustrated we get. This, in turn, means we begin to subconsciously relate bed to feeling stressed and being awake rather than asleep. Leave the bedroom and do something relaxing, like read a book downstairs, then, when you are tired, go back to bed.

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