Tips on how to sleep better
Quick changes you can make to improve sleep
At a loss on how to get a good night's sleep? You’d think it would be simple, but many of us often find quality sleep eludes us. If you’re sick of tossing and turning every night, read our simple tips on how to get better sleep!
How can I sleep better?
Sleep has a huge impact on our mental and physical wellbeing, which is why it’s so important to know how to sleep well. Believe it or not, it’s not something we all innately know! For a lot of people, it can actually take a lot of trial and error to work out how to get proper sleep. If you find that you regularly wake up feeling tired, cranky or achey, then you’re probably not sleeping as well as you should, and it’s probably impacting your waking hours. Those of us who haven’t worked out how to get good sleep often find that we’re less productive during the day. If your issues with sleep are chronic, then your health is probably suffering too. Those who don’t get enough quality sleep on a regular basis are more likely to suffer from illnesses and injuries. So, what can you do to improve your sleep? Firstly, you should know there are a few things that factor into how to get a better night’s sleep. It’s important to understand both how to get more sleep and how to get better quality sleep.
Getting more sleep
A major component of ensuring you're well rested is making sure you actually allow yourself enough time to sleep. We all lead busy lives, and many of us find there simply aren't enough hours in the day sometimes! When you’ve got a list of priorities a mile long, it’s easy to put sleep at the bottom. If you’re guilty of regularly sacrificing shut-eye for work, homework, TV or other commitments, then it’s time for a change. Sleep should always be scheduled in! If you’re not getting the correct amount of sleep for your age and stage, then it’s time to take a look at your to-do list and see what can be moved around. Identify what can be trimmed out of the busy working week or find areas where you can improve areas of your life.
You should also be aware of your natural sleep patterns. Working with your body’s sleep cycle, rather than against it, is one of the best things you can learn when you’re trying to work out how to sleep better at night naturally. Getting in tune with your sleep/wake cycle will help you to wake up feeling much more refreshed and well rested every day.
Choose a bed time at a time when you feel tired, and go to bed at the same time every night. Consistency is key when trying to improve sleep quality. It’s easy to throw out your whole week with one bad night of sleep!
If you’re trying to learn how to sleep better at night, then one good thing to remember is to allow yourself some time to wind down so you can fall asleep when you need to. Exercise, your smart phone, TV and eating right before bed can keep you awake, so avoid them. Instead you should try to unwind by reading a book or with some light meditation.
An important part of understanding how to get good sleep is understanding how to get back to sleep when you do wake up. It’s normal to wake up during the night, but if you’re having trouble getting back to sleep you should try:
Keeping your eyes closed.
Opening up our eyes helps to wake up our brains, so keep your eyes shut if you wake up. If you’re getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, try and keep the lights off or dimmed.
Try relaxation techniques.
If you’ve found yourself wide awake, don’t let yourself stress about ‘getting back to sleep’. Make relaxation your goal instead. Deep breathing, muscle relaxation and meditation are all good for the body and can help you to feel rejuvenated, even if you can’t get back to sleep.
Try not to overthink.
Many of us lie awake at night worrying. If that’s you, we’d suggest keeping a journal next to you. Write your thoughts down and then set them aside, they will be there in the morning! Your night worries cannot be resolved in the middle of the night, so it’s best not to dwell on them.
Try a quiet activity.
If you really can’t get back to sleep, try doing a gentle activity, like reading a book or counting sheep until you feel sleepy again.
Getting quality sleep
It’s important to get enough sleep, but it’s also important to make sure that it’s high quality sleep. A few hours of deep restorative sleep beats eight hours of poor quality disrupted sleep!
So, if you’re wondering how to get better quality sleep, we’d suggest making a few of these simple changes in your bedroom:
Sunlight and other light sources like the light from our appliances can keep us awake, or even wake us up. This is because our body secretes less melatonin when it’s lighter, which tells our brains to be alert. To improve your sleep quality, it’s recommended that you keep your bedroom as dark as possible. You might want to look into covering your windows with sun blocking blinds or curtains, covering lights on appliances, and keeping your phone out of the bedroom. It’s also a good idea to turn out the lights outside of your bedroom to avoid having a light filter in under your door.
It pays to be conscious of lighting during the day too. Office workers often suffer from disrupted sleep patterns because they spend less time outside - just a few minutes in the sun each day can help with regulating your body's release of melatonin.
If you’re wondering how to get the best sleep, then a quick tip is to keep the temperature under control in your bedroom. Our bodies are very sensitive to both the heat and cold when it comes to falling asleep. Humans actually need a slight fall in core body temperature to fall asleep! So if your bedroom is too hot, it’s no surprise that you’re struggling to figure out how to have a good sleep at night. If you don’t have AC, then a fan circulating from above, or blowing air onto you can help a lot with cooling you down at night. It’s even possible to purchase fans designed to circulate cool air under your quilt! Speaking of which, your quilt could be the problem! Many Australians have grown up sleeping with thick quilts, and this can become a real issue in summer. If you’re waking up feeling hot at night, then check your bedding and linens. A quilt or duvet made from light, more breathable materials is a much better choice for the warmer parts of the year, as are lighter more breathable sheets and pillows. If you live in a hot climate, you may even consider investing in a mattress or mattress protector made with cooling materials or gels. Get more tips on how to sleep in the heat here.
On the flip side, it’s also a problem if your bedroom is too cold. Many of us are familiar with the unpleasant feeling of waking up shivering in the dead of winter. Luckily, it’s relatively easy to address. For many of us, the worst part of sleeping in winter is climbing into a cold bed. Purchasing an electric blanket can help! Turn it on a few minutes before bed to give it time to warm up and enjoy a much cozier sleep. Changing your sheets and bedding can also help. In the winter, switch to a thicker duvet and heavier flannelette sheets, as they retain heat better.
Control your environment.
Making a few simple changes to your sleep environment can make a big difference. If you’re trying to work out how to have a better sleep, then you may want to take a look at where you sleep. Is it noisy? Is there a lot of clutter?
It may seem obvious but the environment around us can have a big impact on how well we sleep. Too much noise or too little noise can keep us awake. If you’re regularly woken up to the sound of passing traffic, birds chirping, your family talking, or your roommate stomping around above your head, then you may want to consider moving rooms or adding some noise dampening elements to your room. Window treatments, rugs and other soft furnishing can help to absorb noise and keep your room quieter. Most people also find that white noise helps when trying to sleep. If your room is so quiet at night that you can hear yourself breathing, try turning on some gentle rain noises or try falling asleep to the sound of waves!
You should also take the time to consider your bedroom layout and level of organisation. Cluttered spaces can cause anxiety and actually keep us awake, so if you’ve been ignoring your floordrobe for a while, it might be time to get it taken care of. It’s not just ‘messiness’ you should be worried about either, certain colours can keep us awake. Whilst it’s important to inject our personalities into our bedrooms, try and keep things muted. If you’ve got a bright red wall, lots of art on the wall, or tons of decor items sitting around, they could be the reason you’re not sleeping as well as you could be.
Try to reserve your bedroom for sleeping. Many of us use them as spaces for working, watching TV, exercise or hanging out nowadays, but this can hurt the quality of our sleep. Try to keep the distractions in the bedroom to a minimum, and if you must have them there, make sure you put things away at night. A good bedroom chest, desk or set of bedsides will help to keep things organised, and a storage bed is also a great place to keep things.
It doesn’t matter what you change about your bedroom or your sleep habits if you’ve got an uncomfortable bed. Choosing a mattress and a bed base or frame with the correct level of support and comfort for you is absolutely essential. The wrong mattress could cause you back pain, hurt your joints, cause partner disruption, or even make you sick.
Adjustable bases and mattresses are a great option for maximising your control over your comfort and sleeping position.
For help finding the right mattress, check out our mattress advice from our experts and our tips on choosing the right mattress for your kids. Our handy Mattress Selector tool can help you find the right mattress online, or visit us in-store for guidance.
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In addition to your mattress, you should also ensure that you have the correct pillow. Find out how often you should change your pillow here. Pillows are an important - but often overlooked - component of how to have a better sleep.
Changing your daily habits
The things we do during our day are just as important as the things we do when we’re trying to sleep. If making changes to your bedroom or sleep routine have not helped you with the issue of how to get better quality sleep, then the problem probably lies with your daily routine. Diet and exercise affect how well we sleep. For the best night’s sleep you should make time to exercise each day, but avoid doing it right before bed.
People who have diets that are high in sugary, processed foods also often struggle to sleep. Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol can also interfere with sleep. Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help a lot with improving both your overall health and your sleep quality.
Need help? Our bedroom experts know what makes for a good night’s sleep! Visit us today for tips and advice to suit your individual needs.