5 new ways to sleep better tonight
Forget multitasking and driving yourself to your limit, experts are increasingly realising that a good night’s sleep is the key to feeling content, energised and at the top of your game. From beditation to targeted apps and hotels, healthy investigates the new ways to sleep better tonight.
1. Give ‘beditation’ a whirl
The latest buzzword in sleep is a mindfulness technique, whereby you recognise anxious thoughts and bring your mind back to the present. The NHS website has a 30-minute video tutorial. Try it before you sink beneath the duvet. Visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-fitness-studio/pages/bedtime-meditation.aspx.
2. Optimise your bedroom
It should be cool (ideally 16-18˚C), dark and quiet. ‘A good-quality bed and pillows make a huge difference. And The Sleep Council says the right bed can prolong sleep by an hour,’ says sleep expert Sammy Margo (www.thegoodsleep expert.com). ‘I recommend a medium-to-firm mattress but it depends on your personal preferences and size.’
3. Go steady on the booze
‘One small glass before bed is fine; any more can play havoc,’ says Margo. Too much and you bypass lighter rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, going straight into deep sleep. As the alcohol wears off, you then enter REM sleep, which is why you wake up after a few hours when you’ve been drinking. We usually have six to seven cycles of REM per night; after boozing, it’s one or two. So by morning, you’re exhausted.
4. Keep a sleep diary
‘Are you having trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep, or waking early,’ asks Professor Ellis. Keep a pen by your bed and note how long you slept for, whether you woke, went to the toilet, and what you ate or drank before bed, to pinpoint any problems.
5. Nap smart
‘Keep naps to 20-30 minutes, says Professor Ellis. ‘Any longer and your body is tricked into a full sleep cycle. And don’t nap too close to bedtime, ideally no later than 3pm.’
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