As we start to experience the end of winter and are all looking forward to Spring, we are reminded that winter for many animals has been a time of hibernation. Imagine sleeping for months without disturbance and how great they must feel when finally awakened?
Of course, this is not something that we aspire to as we enjoy life too much regardless of the seasons, but because we only have 8 hours a night to sleep it is vital for our health that we take advantage of that sleep time and that we do sleep regularly and soundly.
Many experts on the subject of sleep even refer to it as ‘sleep hygiene,’ as like all other forms of personal hygiene, sleep needs to be practiced on a nightly basis without compromise, or we can suffer great health consequences.
Why are some people unable to sleep well?
Just like our daily rituals of hygiene, eating well, and exercising, sleep needs to also be seen as a ritual and it is by breaking or changing poor ‘sleeping habits’ that we can change our cycle of sleep, so you need only adjust your sleeping habits to get sleep fit!
There are essentially 12 habits that we can change or adopt which could assist us all to attain better, more regular sleep. These fall into three categories, which are – your personal habits, your sleeping environment, and your sleep preparations (or getting ready for bed). We want to look at each of these categories in each part of this series so in this article we look at…
Your personal habits
You have four personal habits that can significantly affect your sleep hygiene and by avoiding these we can begin to get more regular and better quality sleep. When you see these you may have a lightbulb moment and recognise that this is a habit you need to break, so do act on it.
Avoid breaking routine
Routine is essential when it comes to regular sleep. Your internal body clock likes regularity and just as you can often condition yourself to wake up at a certain time, by sticking to a regular bedtime you train yourself to sleep at a certain time. Don’t be tempted to change this in winter either – maintain the same bedtime and waking time throughout the year – including when on holiday!
Caffeine and excessive alcohol are stimulants and these are designed to make one feel more awake. It stands to reason therefore that they should not be consumed for some time before bedtime – the experts recommend around 3 to 4 hours before.
Sir Winston Churchill used to refer to them as ‘power’ naps and that might have been appropriate for someone who only slept about 4 hrs a night, but this is not recommended. If you have a problem sleeping at night those quick after-lunch snoozes are not a good idea. Remember that sleep is accumulative so this is better than nothing if you got no sleep the night before, but it is not a good habit to get into!
Avoid late exercise
Exercise, as essential as it is, is also designed to wake the body and raise endorphins, etc. This means like the stimulants in caffeine and alcohol it is also best not practiced too close to bedtime. A rule of thumb is that vigorous exercise should be done in the morning and nothing more than a light stroll to walk the dog carried out in the evening.
Avoid bad mattresses!
Not one of the 12 bad habits, but something that is essential to quality sleep, is to avoid a bad mattress. The use of a good mattress that is firm, but comfortable, and designed for good postural support, is essential to obtaining a good night’s sleep and a happy body the next day. So sleeping on a quality mattress is an essential habit to adopt!
Truform, after over 35 years of designing and manufacturing great mattresses have exactly the right one for you, so check out a store near you to test drive a Truform today! Contact us for any advice you may need and watch this space for part 2 of how to adjust your sleeping habits to get sleep fit!