How many times have you struggled to concentrate at work the day after a restless night’s sleep? The role that sleep plays in everyday healthy brain function is well documented – but did you also know that getting enough sleep also enables your body to regulate a host of other important factors, such as hormone levels, metabolism and skin cell turnover?
Sleep offers a number of lesser-spoken benefits to human health. Scientists have discovered that not getting enough sleep affects the way in which your body regulates hormones, which is why we may crave junk foods when we’re sleep deprived as our body tries to make up for the imbalance with sugar intake. Not good news for dieters! Added to a slowed metabolism as a result of sleep deprivation, people who don’t get the recommended 7-8 hours’ sleep a night risk a higher chance of being obese or overweight than those who do.
It’s clear that sleep is not something to be skipped, as cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni recently demonstrated. In the spirit of helping you achieve those precious 8 golden hours a night, here are some tried and tested tips to help you sleep better.
Key steps to a better night’s sleep
Upgrade your bedding
A mattress with broken springs or a pillow that’s more than two years old aren’t the best tools to help you rest easy. Replacing your mattress is an occasional chore and can always feel like a huge ordeal, but thankfully in the internet age there are several companies dedicated to smoothing out the once-complicated process. One budget-meets-quality option on the market at the moment, as reviewed by The Telegraph, is Eve Sleep, which claims to have created “the most comfortable mattress in the world”, thanks to feedback integrated from the thousands of users who have purchased and used their product.
Whether its fresh flowers, essential oils or fragrances, lavender is scientifically proven to put you into sleep mode! You can melt essential oils using a burner, or try placing a bunch of fresh sprigs around the bed, so that the fragrance subtly works its magic on you whenever you’re settling down for the night.
Keep your room cool
Remember the story of Goldilocks and the three Bears? Just like the porridge, it’s important to make sure the temperature of your bedroom is neither too hot nor too cold, but ‘just right’. Experts recommend keeping the climate between 60-67°F (15-19°C) for optimal snoozing. Finding the right room temperature allows your body to rest into a deeper, less disturbed sleep if it doesn’t have to use energy to self-regulate this during the night. Most modern thermostats and air conditioning systems can be set on a timer to only fluctuate within a given range.
Come over to the dark side
Even a small amount of light emanating from your digital alarm clock or a laptop screen left open, can disturb our body’s natural sleeping rhythms. To ensure you produce the most melatonin and fall into the deepest sleep possible – for ultimate mental and physical regeneration – try installing blackout curtains in your bedroom if you live in the city or wearing a sleep mask, to ensure those tiny sources of artificial light don’t interrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm.