It goes without saying that we all need a good night’s sleep … but millions of us regularly miss out. Sleep is vital to a healthy existence, protecting you physically and mentally and boosting your quality of life. The majority of people worldwide don’t sleep as well as they could, and there are many ways we can all improve our habits. Let’s take a look at how you can boost your well-being by getting more healthy, natural sleep.
How much sleep do I need?
It does vary of course, but most healthy adults regularly need between seven and nine hours a night to function at their best. Children and young people need even more.
Exposure to light, especially natural sunlight, during the day is good for you and can promote healthy sleep. Blue light, which is emitted by electronic screens, is a major problem as it tricks your brain into thinking that it’s still daytime. Watching TV or using mobile phones, tablets or laptops just before bed can mean it takes longer for you to fall asleep as your brain is still active. Some gadgets now come with blue light filters, but it’s still advisable to stop using your electronic devices about an hour in order to get more healthy sleep.
Try to stick to a routine
Creating a set routine helps your body know when it’s time to go to bed and when to wake. Studies have shown that people with irregular sleep patterns often report getting poor-quality sleep, no matter how long they’re in bed for. Those who are more consistent with timings typically enjoy good sleep. For many of us it can be easy to stick to a good sleep routine during the working week, but on weekends a healthy schedule can be harder to maintain.
Exercise and sport can help hugely as physical activity tires your body out gently. Releasing physical and mental tension through exercise helps to get rid of stress, which in turn leads to healthy sleep.
Pick the right mattress
Have you been sleeping on the same mattress for too long? Mattress industry experts and the Sleep Council agree that you should replace your mattress at least every eight years, as it will gradually lose the support and comfort it once offered. Research shows that sleeping on an old or unsuitable mattress can mean you lose up to an hour’s sleep every night. So whether you’re a front sleeper, back or side sleeper, it’s important to choose the best mattress for you to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep. Here are three of the most popular types:
Memory foam – Memory foam mattresses are made from mouldable material that adapts to your body’s shape and weight to give maximum support and relieve pressure on your joints. They’re the best mattress for anyone who suffers from back pain as the memory foam helps to maintain good posture, leading to good sleep.
Pocket sprung – A pocket sprung mattress is viewed as the more luxurious version of the classic sprung mattress and is manufactured with small individual springs housed in separate pockets of fabric. Each spring works independently, providing more support. Pocket sprung mattresses are the best mattress for helping people of different shapes and sizes share a bed, minimising the risk of rolling towards your partner.
Pillow top – Something of a hybrid, a pillow top mattress is a regular mattress with an additional layer on top that feels like a pillow or thick mattress topper – hence the name. Pillow tops are the best mattress for anyone who needs some extra support, such as side sleepers.
It’s important to remember that you have a duty of care to yourself, and should do all you can to make sure you get the best night’s sleep possible. You’re worth it!