Over half of Brits (52%) say they can't remember the last time they had a “perfect” night's sleep – with seven in ten saying that poor sleep negatively affects their mood, according to research.
A poll of 2,000 adults has revealed some of the top causes of a bad night's sleep, with 52% blaming a messy bedroom – and 28% even doing some last-minute tidying before bed, to help them nod off.
And to mark Sleep Awareness Week (March 13-19), and World Sleep Day on Friday, March 17, sleep expert Hannah Shore has shared her top tips on how to set up your bedroom to enjoy the best possible slumber.
Wearing bed socks to bed, finding the perfect pillow to support your sleeping position, and keeping the light levels low in your bedroom at bedtime, are some of her top tips for a more restful night.
Hannah, who is working with hotel chain Premier Inn, in partnership with Silent Night, also suggested that watching TV to doze off can be fine – as long as you are watching calming content.
She said: “You’ve all heard about blue light, how this can stop you from sleeping, and how we should be off our phones for at least an hour before bed – but this doesn’t work for everyone.
“Blue light isn’t always bad, and most devices now come with an eye comfort mode setting anyway, swapping out those harsh blue tones for softer yellow ones.
“It is the content we are looking at which causes more harm. Looking at the news, or watching something tense, can lead our bodies to be on edge, producing wake-promoting hormones like cortisol.
“Instead of watching anything overly addictive and intense like Happy Valley, which makes you think “just one more”, it’s best to watch something you’ve already seen before, like re-runs of Friends, or a relaxing programme.”
The poll, commissioned by Premier Inn, also revealed the different ways in which Brits have tried to make their bedroom a more relaxing environment – including getting new pillows (34%), a new mattress (29%), and blackout curtains (25%).
And really nailing down these basics, such as bedding, can significantly improve the quality of your rest, according to Shore.
She said: “How you sleep predicts the thickness of your pillow. Front and back sleepers need a thinner pillow, whereas side sleepers need a thicker pillow to fill the gap between the ear and the shoulder.”
Another easy fix for better sleep is to wear appropriate nightwear, and be aware of what you eat and drink two hours before bed.
Hannah said: “PJs should be loose-fitted and light, while bed socks can increase the blood circulation, which can help with cooling the body down.
“You should avoid eating large meals late in the evening, because digestion causes our body temperature to raise when it should be dropping.
Simple breathing technique can lower stress, blood pressure and keep the heart healthy
“Also be mindful of what you drink, as caffeine can block receptors in our brain, making our bodies think we are not tired.
“Alcohol can act as a sedative for the first phase of sleep – however, it then acts as a stimulant, leaving the rest of the night’s sleep light and fractured.
“Many alcohol-free drinks contain a lot of sugar, which can also keep you awake.”
And despite a tidy bedroom being a step towards a better night's sleep, one in four don't make their bed in the morning, and 57% are guilty of utilising their “floordrobe” – chucking clothes on the floor each night rather than hanging them up.
Hannah Shore added: “A tidy room allows the sleeper to de-stress. Keeping clear sides at all times can help you relax and fall asleep quicker.”
More than three-quarters (76%) even go as far as to admit they’d feel like a new person if they ever got a really good night’s kip.
Simon Ewins, managing director at Premier Inn, said: “It seems there’s a big sleep gap across the nation, with millions not nodding off how they’d like.
“Hannah’s top tips can help you create a space that helps you achieve good quality sleep, and the benefits in day-to-day life that come with this.
“Sleep Awareness Week is a great time to look at our bedroom spaces, and to assess whether we are getting the best rest we can, or if there is anything we can do to improve it.
“Our rooms are designed to ensure everyone has different options to match their sleeping habits.”
SLEEP EXPERT HANNAH SHORE’S TOP 10 BEDROOM TIPS FOR A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP:
- TV and devices – Tech isn’t always bad. If you are using a device before bed, use it in eye comfort mode to create calming sounds, listen to podcasts, or even help with certain breathing exercises. Avoid viewing content such as the news that causes tension and promotes wake hormones.
- Socks – Bed socks can increase the blood circulation, which can help with cooling the body down. Ideally your body temperature needs to naturally drop by a couple of degrees to get good quality sleep.
- Clutter – Banish the floordrobe! A cluttered bedroom can cause the mind to feel stressed, and stress is sleep’s worst enemy. Ensuring you have places to put away all your belongings, for example a storage or ottoman bed, and keeping sides and floors clear, can really help this.
- Pillows – Finding the right pillow to support your sleeping position is a must. If you are a front or back sleeper, you will need a thinner pillow. Side sleepers will need a thicker pillow to fill the gap between the ear and the edge of the shoulder.
- Dark light – When you are going to bed, try keeping the light levels in your room low by using a bed-side lamp instead of the bright ceiling light. Dim light helps our bodies to start producing sleep hormones, like melatonin.
- Bright light – Bright light when the sun rises too early can wake you easily by telling your body to stop producing sleep hormones. At home, make sure to have blackout blinds or curtains, or even an eye mask to block out those bright lights.
- Working – We often take our work to bed with us, either trying to remember to do things the following day, or literally checking emails whilst we should be sleeping. This can cause our minds to work overtime, struggle to switch off, and therefore struggle to fall asleep. If you do need to work in your bedroom, try to set up a dedicated work space, with a desk if possible, so you can create separation between work and sleep.
- Comfort – Comfort is essential for a good night’s sleep. Different types of pillows, a new mattress, or even adding a padded mattress topper, can improve sleep comfort. Some hotel chains (like Premier Inn) sell their beds and bedding, giving the perfect opportunity to “try before you buy”.
- Bed sharing – Sharing a bed is great, as cuddles can relax and destress you. However, the number one cause for disrupted sleep is partner disturbance, so make sure you have the right conversations and prioritise each other’s sleep. Separate beds and bedrooms are more common than you think.
- Wind-down routine – As adults, we often forget the importance of a good wind-down routine, allowing your mind and body to switch off from everything that has happened throughout the day. Our body needs time to relax so it can stop producing all those wake-promoting hormones, and allow our bodies to realise it is time to sleep.
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