The importance of sleep and how to get the best!

Image credit: Max Pixel

Sleep is really important for our health and though there is only limited research into why shutting down for around 8 hours a day seems to work, it is undeniable that after a restless night we are all grumpier and more prone to infection. In fact, not getting enough sleep can impair your brain function, making learning more difficult and giving you trouble when it comes to making decisions.  

So what makes a good night’s sleep then?

Well, how much sleep you need is very personal but generally, a good night’s sleep is somewhere between 7-9 hours over a 24-hour period, where your rest is continuous and when you wake up, you feel fully refreshed and energized.

Choosing the Right Mattress

A good night’s sleep is all about getting the right conditions and your mattress, and, by extension, your pillows and covers, are key to sleeping well. To get the most comfortable sleep, you should take buying a new mattress seriously.

Because everyone is different, the right mattress for you probably won’t be the same as for your friends. This means that you can’t really take a recommendation for a mattress without trying it first. Going to a specialist shop is usually the best way to find the right mattress as there will be plenty to choose from and the sales assistants will be able to advise you on materials, firmness and your posture in bed.

Achieving Total Darkness

Light inhibits the secretion of melatonin. This is a hormone that your body produces that makes you feel tired and ready to sleep. Unfortunately, the modern world is full of lights from the lamps you put on in the evening to the TV you watch before bed and the last check of your phone screen before you hit the pillow. All of these extra light sources are playing havoc with your sleep pattern.

To counter this, hide any electrical lights in your room such as digital clocks, try reading before bed instead of watching TV and use blackout curtains to achieve true darkness when you sleep. You could also try using a sunset/sunrise lamp which will simulate the sun setting and rising to encourage you to sleep and wake naturally.

Cooling Down

Creating a calm, minimalist bedroom is one of the best ways to ensure that your space is primed for sleep: no bright colors, nothing to distract you. But there is a further trick you can use to make sure that you sleep well and it’s really easy. All you have to do is turn the thermostat down and layer up your covers.

For some reason, having a cool head and bedroom and a warm body under the sheets is the best way to persuade you to fall asleep quickly and soundly. A cool bedroom can even prevent sleep onset insomnia in some people as it keeps their bodies cooler, allowing them to stay asleep for longer.

With a better understanding of what makes for a good night’s sleep, you will be well on your way to sleeping properly and waking up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning. 

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