At HUGGE there’s nothing we enjoy more than cuddling up to a loved one in a warm, cosy bed. Whether it’s silly pillow talk or watching the latest TV series we’re hooked on, it’s one of our favourite places to be. But sleep isn’t just fun, it’s important - a vital requirement to help you function properly and feel great. Often we take good sleep for granted and for some people it can be quite tricky to nod off. Rather than bore you with tired tales of counting sheep, here are some useful ways to help you sleep better.
Get into a regular sleep routine
It is said that excellence is not an act but a habit and this applies to getting an excellent night’s sleep. Maintaining a consistent bedtime routine is the best method to getting a better sleep, night after night. Think back to your own childhood; the importance of having a sleep routine was a critical component of your development and wellbeing. The same principles apply for adults, we just need to make sure we stick to it. Therefore, try to keep the times you go to bed and wake up consistent - it will let your body get into a routine of when you need to sleep. When setting up a routine, channel your circadian rhythm as well. So, whether you’re a night owl or early riser – reflect that in the time you go to bed, to help you get to sleep more naturally.
Go to the dark side
Sadly, the human body doesn’t have an ‘off’ button when it comes to sleeping, so to get a better sleep you need to prepare your body for the activity. Light is a crucial factor which can affect your sleep, so as the clock ticks down to bedtime, reduce the intensity of light in your immediate vicinity. If you're in your living room, turn off the main light and instead use small lamps (if you do not have dimmer switches). Darkness helps to tell your body it is time to sleep as it releases melatonin – the hormone which calms your body and controls your sleep cycle, so start this process 1-2 hours before you want to fall asleep. Also, when you’re in bed make sure your bedroom is dark, so it is worth investing in blackout curtains.
You should also apply the same theory to your waking routine. Exposing yourself to light early in the day helps you wake up, for example using a SAD light will help combat the winter blues too. Also, if you’re an office worker take a brisk walk during your lunch break and expose yourself to fresh sunlight during your ‘waking hours’ rather than sit by your desk – your emails will still be there when you come back!
In an ever-connected world, often our use of smartphones and laptops can derail our ability to ‘switch off’. Whether it is stressing about work or endlessly watching cute animal videos, you should look to limit the use of electronic devices before you go to sleep. Firstly, it keeps your brain alert, something that will not aid you in drifting off to sleep. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, the blue light emitted by devices such as laptops suppress the production of melatonin which manages your circadian rhythm. The only technology you need to get a better sleep is a premium memory foam mattress that uses the latest sleep technology!
There’s nothing quite like a bit of afternoon fika (coffee and cake) to give you a bit of hygge (fun), but you should begin reducing caffeine intake as you look to go to sleep - the stimulants found in tea, coffee or energy drinks will keep you awake and alert. This is true with alcohol too, while you may find yourself falling asleep quickly, it affects the quality of your sleep as you’re unable to reach a deep slumber - the type of sleep leaves you feeling refreshed in the morning. In terms of food, avoid eating too close to your bedtime and avoid large meals (especially spicy ones) as it can cause bloating, heartache and indigestion which will not help you sleep.
In the summer, you may find it hard to get to sleep because you’re too hot, and you would be right. The core temperature of the human body drops by 1 or 2 degrees when it’s time to sleep, so being too warm will deter you from drifting off. In line with your circadian rhythm, your body is ready for sleep when its core temperature is at its lowest, so ensure your bedroom is cool enough. And, whilst this is against what we have been led to believe, you should avoid activities such as taking a hot bath or vigorous exercise too close to your optimal bedtime, as they raise your core temperature.
Instead, try gentle relaxing stretches or yoga to help you relax, unwind and soothe your muscles before you enter the land of nod.
Don’t force it
If you are finding yourself tossing and turning in bed, unable to drift off, it’s important that you resist forcing yourself to get to sleep. Instead, jump up out of bed and focus on relaxing activities. This may sound counterproductive, but in this situation, your body probably isn’t ready for sleep and staying in your bed could do more harm than good as your frustration grows. So whether you’re reading a book or pottering about with small tasks, it will help you relax. When you begin to feel more tired, you should then pop back into bed.
Is your mattress an issue?
One of the most important aspects of a great night’s sleep is your mattress. After all, it’s what you lay on every night, so if you regularly find yourself struggling to drift off, or feel tired or sore when you wake up, it may be worth getting a new mattress.
The bedding industry has more options than ever in terms of style and design, but we’d always recommend a genuine memory foam mattress to help you sleep better. This is because the memory foam moulds to your body shape, giving you support just where you need it, leading to natural spine alignment and therefore a blissful nights sleep, leaving you feeling refreshed and ache free every morning.
So, why not try the HUGGE 100 night sleep well trial. With free delivery and returns, it’s a risk-free way to test the benefits of a genuine memory foam mattress (probably the best on the market) for yourself!