Five ways to sleep better tonight

There is nothing worse than staring at the ceiling wishing you were asleep, everyone knows how important sleep is but for some people it is not as easy as just closing your eyes.

Sleep provides the foundation for every day of your life; it can affect your physical and mental health and is essential for preparing you for the rest of you day.

A good night’s sleep gives your body time to recover; it will keep you healthy and allow you to relax. However, a bad night’s sleep can leave you tired, stressed and grumpy and can also result in health problems by disrupting your immune system.

There are many things that effect how you get to sleep which thankfully means there are many things you can do to help you catch some Z’s. So whether you feel like you are on the brink of insomnia or are just looking to get the most out of your time in bed, here are some simple tips to help.

1) Manage your technology use

The use of technology such as phones, tablets and laptops has become ingrained in our everyday lives. However, this increased use can have a detrimental effect on your ability to get too sleep. Studies have shown using bright screens for more than 1.5 hours in the 5 hour period before bed will increase your alertness, keeping you awake.

Surveys also show that late-night technology users report less satisfactory sleep more often than those not using technology before bed.

The obvious action is to stop using technology before you go to sleep, however going cold turkey can be tough. Other ways to reduce the negative effect of these screens is to use them passively instead of actively, reading an e-book is an example of a passive activity while playing a game is an active activity. Some devices also have night modes, or you can dim the brightness which lessens the impact.

2) Workout at the right time

Exercise has long been linked with improved sleep but it’s not as simple as just doing a workout and getting some sleep.

A good workout will make your body tired and a tired body falls asleep a lot easier at the end of the day. However if you exercise too close to your bed time, it actually makes it harder to get to sleep. It is recommended you exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime with the ideal time being late afternoon.

3) Wind down

Even those who get the best sleep will not fall asleep as soon as they get into bed. Falling asleep is a process that takes some time.

Once you are in your bed you need to relax, this can be achieved actively through things like meditation or breathing exercises. Or you might prop up some pillows or adjust your electric base into a reading position if it is possible and dig into a chapter or two of a book.

Your body is specially attuned to go to sleep when you go to bed, but it takes a while for it to relax and adjust to its surroundings.

4) Create ideal conditions

Not everyone sleeps the same; there are hot sleepers, cold sleepers, side sleepers and back sleepers. Understanding what works best for you is essentially in getting the best sleep.

Make sure you create the right temperature in your bed with the right type of mattress or bedding. You can also get different types of pillows, mattresses and adjustable bases tailored to the position you sleep in.

Creating a dark environment is also key, so having light reducing curtains, or wearing a sleep mask will help, even something as small as coving a bright clock could make the difference.

5) Stick to a schedule

The fact we sleep during the night and are awake during the day is no accident; our body has a natural clock in it that has a daily rhythm which includes when to sleep and when to wake up.

So it is no coincidence when you follow this rhythm you get a better sleep, shift work can play havoc with this and so can staying up very late on weekends.

By going to sleep and waking up at the same time consistently your body will adjust and become so in sync with that rhythm you might not even need an alarm to wake up.

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