More than a third (37%) of people in Manchester describe their sleep as poor or very poor, according to a recent survey by 247 Blinds.
Not only that, but 14% of people typically get five hours or less of sleep on a weeknight – it’s recommended we have seven to nine hours – and 76% of people use a screen before going to bed, such as a TV, computer or smartphone.
So how can you get a better night’s sleep? Take a look at our top tips and see if there’s a bad habit you can break.
AVOID THE HEAT
We all struggle to fall asleep in sweltering heat in the summer, but you don’t want to feel too hot at any time of year in bed. If you slip into cool sheets, it triggers a drop in body temperature and you produce melatonin, which induces sleep. We recommend taking a warm bath or shower before bed, so your body feels cooler when you get into the bedroom.
SAY NO TO SCREENS
Avoid bright screens within one to two hours of your bed time. The ‘blue’ light they emit isn’t good when it comes to relaxing. Try music, audiobooks or a good old-fashioned paperback book instead. If you can’t live without your media devices, try lowering the brightness setting.
Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. This will help to set your internal clock and give your body a rhythm. Don’t think that choosing an earlier bed time will necessarily help – choose a time when you normally feel tired, that way you won’t be irritatedtrying to get to sleep. And although it’s tempting, try not to sleep in on weekends. The more of a routine you create, the better the quality of sleep you’ll get.
If you have a healthy level of exercise in your life, the length and quality of your sleep will improve. Make sure not to exercise sooner than four hours before bed, however – 30 minutes of vigorous exercise keeps your body temperature elevated for four hours, inhibiting sleep.
We all know a good diet equals a good, healthy lifestyle. But did you know that cheese and crackers are the perfect pre-sleep snack? You need to combine carbohydrates with calcium or protein that contains tryptophan (an amino acid) as it boosts serotonin, making you feel calm. Have this sort of light snack one hour before bed and feel the benefits. Forget that myth that cheese gives you nightmares!
BLOCK OUT THE LIGHT
Sometimes you can help your sleeping patterns with something really simple – make sure you block out all of the light. Use heavy, blackout curtains on the windows and cover up any electronics that emit a glow. You could also try an eye mask.
These are just some ideas on how you can improve your sleep. They can make the world of difference and are really worth a go.