How to Love Your Sleep

This Valentine’s Day we pose an important question to you: Do you love your sleep?

There are so many elements that contribute to a good night’s sleep to the point where you love sleep and enjoy the benefits of a good night’s sleep night after night.

No matter what you do during the day, sleep is an essential part of our daily routine and the more sleep you get the better.

We’ve put together some tips aimed at helping you get a good night’s sleep, so you too can fast track to becoming a sleep lover – we want you to love sleep as much as we do!

 1. Get enough sleep

Along with nutrition and exercise, sleep is the third pillar of health. So if you want to be healthy, it’s time to start prioritising sleep. Set an alarm for your bedtime and go to bed when it sounds. Ensure you get a full eight hours each night.

2. Set a regular sleep schedule

Setting up a regular sleep schedule and sticking to it is very important when you’re trying to achieve better sleep. If your bedtime fluctuates widely, then your ‘biological clock’ is suffering, and your body never knows when it’s supposed to be in sleep mode! Your biological clock is ‘set’ by the natural rhythms of day/night, light/dark. If you take the effort to go to bed, and get up, at the same time each day you’re reinforcing this natural rhythm.

3. Improve your sleeping environment

Some of the main stimulants in your sleep environment that you can control are: light, temperature and bed comfort.

  • Darkness triggers the release of the hormone melatonin, which makes you sleepy. Try to block out external light sources with heavy blinds or curtains, and turn off any blue light emitting screens an hour before bed time.
  • Experiment to find the right mix of sleepwear, bed linen, and room temperature to give you a comfortable night’s sleep.
  • Experts recommend reducing noise in your sleep environment to improve sleep quality. If you live in particularly noisy neighbourhood, try wearing ear plugs to bed, or investing in a white-noise generator.
  • Make sure you have a bed that’s comfortable for you.
  • Keep your room clean and use laundry detergents and other scented products with either a pleasing scent, or no scent at all.
  • Set a limit of how often your children or pets sleep in bed with you, as they can often be disruptive during the night.

4. Have an early dinner

Eating a full meal late at night, right before going to bed can be harmful, as it can cause heartburn, weight gain, and may disturb your sleep. However, going to bed hungry can also disturb sleep, so there is a fine line here. We recommend eating dinner at least two hours before bed. If needed a small snack will be helpful in aiding sleep. Avoid eating greasy, spicy or protein filled foods close to bedtime, as these can disrupt digestion or upset your stomach.

5. Cut the caffeine

Cutting out caffeine is the key to a good night sleep. Here’s why:

  • A cup of coffee takes about 30 minutes to have an effect – and the maximum effect is experienced about an hour after drinking. After that the caffeine level in our blood starts to decline but it takes a minimum of three hours for caffeine to stop having an alerting effect.
  • However, how long this takes depends very much on our age. As we age our metabolic rate slows down and it takes us longer to metabolise a cup of coffee. The reality is that in our 40s and 50s, one cup of coffee will still be affecting us up to eight hours later!
  • Chocolate contains caffeine, and can stay in our system for up to six hours. Skip the chocolate altogether when the sun goes down.

6. Exercise regularly

Exercising triggers your body’s need to sleep. The golden hours to exercise are between 5pm and 7pm. This is because it raises your body temperature, allowing it to start falling just as you’re getting ready for bed. Avoid vigorous exercise in the three hours before bedtime. It is the dropping of heart rate and body temperature that makes us ready for sleep. A high heart rate close to bedtime will keep you awake.

7. Turn off all devices one hour before bedtime

Staring at blue light emitting devices such as TVs, computers, tablets, smart phones etc. can all reduce the production of melatonin (our natural sleeping hormone) at night, causing increased sleeping difficulties and more daytime drowsiness. The best way to reduce this blue light exposure is to turn off all gadgets about an hour before bedtime. If you need a reminder, set an alarm an hour before bedtime as your cut off time for phone and computer use. Leave your phone or tablet outside the bedroom.

8. Choose the right mattress

Your body spends the most time in contact with your mattress than almost anything else, so it is important that you choose one that’s right for you.

  • Buy the best quality you can afford. Given that how well you sleep affects every part of your life, think of it as an investment in your overall health and happiness!
  • There are many options to choose from, so be sure to try different mattress comforts to see which one you prefer.
  • Take your time! You’ll likely have your mattress for up to 7 years, so don’t rush into a decision. Make sure you spend at least 10 minutes on each mattress you try, so you can really feel how it conforms to your body in your usual sleeping position.
  • Know your pain points! Is temperature an issue for you, or you suffer from asthma? There are numerous comfort components and treatments that offer a variety of benefits. If you are hot sleeper for example, breathable quilting materials and gel-infused comfort layers can help dissipate heat. Some mattresses are approved by the National Asthma Council’s Sensitive Choice programme, as they offer protection from dust mites and bacteria.

So before heading out to the shop, do a little research to find out what might work best for you.

Our in-store sleep specialists at Harvey Norman are trained to help you find the perfect match for your needs, whether you are a side, tummy or back sleeper, if you sleep with a partner or if you sleep on your own.

Shop now at Harvey Norman to find your perfect bed and fall in love with sleep today!

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