If you’re looking for ways to improve your sleep quality, you’re not alone.
According to a survey conducted by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), approximately 60 percent of Australians report experiencing at least one insomnia-related problem each week.2
About 15 percent of people suffer from chronic clinical insomnia.
You might have also heard about the negative effects of not sleeping enough on your overall well-being. Read more about that here.
We’ve put together a quick list of tips for looking after your sleep hygiene and getting a better night’s rest. Hopefully they help!
The first thing you need to do is get into a regular schedule – go to bed at the exact same time every night. Regular sleep times are very important, as this helps to set your body clock in good stead. A good idea would be to set an alarm clock for 10 minutes earlier each day, then wake up without any fuss once they go off. Don’t forget to follow through though! You can also try setting a timer to remind you to go to bed. By doing this, you ensure your body gets used to sleeping at the same time daily and creates healthy sleep habits.3
Make sure there aren’t any distractions like TVs, computers, phones, etc., in your bedroom. Also ensure that it has a comfortable bed, pillow, and mattress. You want your bedroom to be a comfortable temperature.
Ensure the air is clean and fresh. You may like to open a window or run an Air Purifier during the night. It’s best to keep noise out, so you can rest well at night. If you’re dealing with a noisy roommate or neighbour, or a partner or pet who snores a lot, you may like to consider using earplugs made especially for sleep. You can check out the Otifleks range here. These are available in multiple sizes to suite a wide range of people.
One of the biggest factors limiting our ability to get enough rest is the fact that we cannot completely shut off our eyes from the outside world.
Bright light exposure during the daytime can disrupt your circadian rhythm and make it harder to fall asleep at night. To avoid this, you should limit your exposure to bright lights before going to bed. This includes screens such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and televisions.
If you can’t fully block out light, then you might want to look into wearing a pair of sleep eye masks. The Dreamlight range of sleep eye masks use advanced 3D facial mapping technology to effectively block out 100% of the external light. They are designed to fit snugly around your face, ensuring you get a deep and uninterrupted night’s rest.4
Drinking caffeinated beverages before bedtime may prevent you from having a good night’s rest. You might be able to get by without them if you have a cup of warm milk or an herbal beverage instead. Caffeine intake can cause drowsiness, anxiety, and even heart palpitations.4
It’s important to avoid consuming caffeine after 2pm as caffeine intake after this time will make it harder for you to fall asleep. This is because caffeine affects the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine. These are chemicals that play a role in regulating sleep cycles.
Blue light emitted from smartphones and tablet computers disrupts the production of the sleep hormone melatonin and should not be viewed during the night. A recent study found that using a smartphone or tablet computer for at least 30 min before going to bed and placing it next to the pillow were both linked to poor sleep quality.3
To avoid blue lights, turn them off completely. If you cannot do this, then use apps like f.lux or twilight which dim your screen as the sunset approaches.
Regular Exercise not only improves your overall physical well-being, but it can also ease some of the stress and tensions of daily living and make for a better night’s sleep.4 However, avoid doing any vigorous exercise too close to bedtime because it may keep you awake at night.
Even just 30 min of aerobic activity every day can help improve your sleep quality and overall health.9
If you’re going through a stressful period, you may be more prone to suffering from insomnia. Try some relaxing techniques to ease your stress levels. You can use an app for that too – just don’t look at the screen when you listen!
White noise machines are great tools for creating a calming environment. They create sounds similar to nature such as wind chimes, raindrops, waves, and birdsong. These noises mask other sounds and help you fall asleep faster. Check out the Welcare Sleep-Tight Sleep Sound Machine available on Smart Wellness. Find out more here.
Studies suggest that lavender has several benefits including helping with sleep and stress relief.5,6 Lavender comes in many different forms such as essential oils, which can be placed in a diffuser, air purifier or simply place a few drops on your pillow, wrists and feet, to smell while you rest. Dried Lavender in your room can be another option. Talk to your pharmacist or local herbalist to see which one works best for you.
Too much alcohol especially close to bed time can disrupt sleep, especially REM sleep. You can read about sleep stages here.
We discussed in Tip Number Two (2) that your bedroom should be the ideal resting space for you. If you lie awake at night thinking about things, it can cause you to associate your bedroom with negative thoughts. Instead of a peaceful spot where you can relax, you end up feeling anxious and afraid to sleep.8 If you can’t get to sleep within twenty (20) minutes, move to another room and do some relaxation activities such as reading a book or listening to soothing music or any other relaxation technique you may find useful – but ensure it doesn’t involve any light to ensure a restful sleep.
Wishing you a good night!