As the His & Hers team counts down to the start of daylight saving time, we’re trying to improve the quality of our sleep by following Dr Sarah Jarvis’ advice.
We’ve all had those nights spent tossing and turning as we attempt to get to sleep, and this problem is only exacerbated when combined with the sudden clock shift when daylight saving time begins on March 31st. Not being able to get to sleep now and again is pretty normal and not something to worry about, but it can be frustrating if you’re struggling to drop off to sleep on a regular basis.
When it comes to solving sleep problems there is no quick fix, but luckily there are things you can do to make good sleep more likely. To help, Sealy UK, the leading bed brand, has teamed up with Dr Sarah Jarvis to give their top tips to help fall asleep faster following daylight saving.
Use your bedroom to sleep
Neil Robinson, Chief Sleep Officer at Sealy UK, explains, “for some of us, our modern, hectic lives have meant our bedroom has become our living room, dining room and home office all in one! If this is you, it’s time to reclaim your bedroom. Avoid watching TV or using laptops or your phone in bed – the blue light these electronic devices emit has been shown to have a disruptive effect on your body’s natural circadian rhythms – your body clock. If you’re regularly eating in the bedroom it’s also time to stop, as eating late at night can mean discomfort as your body tries to digest food during sleep. The more you use your bedroom for sleep only, the more you’ll also start to associate going to bed with falling asleep, and you’re likely to feel more relaxed.”
Reduce your caffeine intake
“Most of us are aware that drinking a cup of coffee straight before bed is likely to keep us up at night, but many of us underestimate the effect that our caffeine intake throughout the day could be having on our sleep habits” says Dr Sarah Jarvis.
“If you’re regularly struggling to nod off at night take a look at your caffeine intake and cut back, especially in the afternoon. This doesn’t just mean coffee – tea, cola drinks and chocolate all contain caffeine and could be keeping you up. Try cutting caffeine out completely from lunchtime onwards to see if it has a positive effect on your sleeping habits.”
“Many of us like to get cosy when going to sleep, but if your bedroom is too warm it could be affecting your ability to get to sleep, or cause you to wake in the night. Your body temperature peaks in the evening and drops to its lowest levels at night when you go to sleep, making a cool 16-18°C the perfect temperature for your bedroom” explains Neil Robinson.
“This will come down to individual preference, but if you’re struggling to sleep, it could be as simple as opening a window to let in some air. Taking a warm bath or shower before bed could also have the same effect. When your body cools down afterwards, this mimics your body’s drop in temperature before sleep, signalling to your brain it’s time to go to sleep.”
Try not to worry
According to Dr Sarah Jarvis, “when you’re having a bad night’s sleep it’s very easy to start worrying about when you’re going to finally drop off, counting down the hours until you need to be up in the morning and getting stressed as a result. There’s a lot of sleep advice out there about how many hours sleep we should be getting each night and it’s easy to compare and get worried that we aren’t measuring up.”
“Try not to worry about the number of hours of sleep you might get that night – one bad night’s sleep is not the end of the world! Cover up the clocks if you find yourself clock watching, and get up and do something else in another room if you find yourself awake and worrying – something relaxing like tidying up a shelf or reading a book (finishing that horror movie is not advised!). Once you start feeling sleepier and more relaxed you can try going back to bed – sometimes a change of scene is enough to help you nod off.”
For more information, visit www.sealy.co.uk/deeper-sleep/healthy-sleep-hub/
Related feature: What His & Hers learnt about sleep at a Next press day.