What is sleep hygiene and how can you use it?

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Insomnia is thought to affect around one in three people in the UK.  It can be a fleeting problem for just a few days, or a more serious issue with some people suffering for years. Insomnia shows itself in different ways with some people struggling to drop off while others wake intermittently throughout the night.  Whatever the symptoms, insomnia can have a debilitating effect on the sufferer.

Sleep hygiene is the term used for recommended behaviours and environmental practices to promote good quality sleep and adopting these habits will ensure normal restful sleep at night, and full alertness during the day.

Which Mattress is best?

But firstly, it’s imperative that you choose the right mattress for you. Quality sleep will not be attainable on a soft bed if you are more suited to firm mattresses, and if you sleep with someone else make sure your bed is the right size to accommodate you both comfortably. You spend about a third of your life in bed, so it’s important to make sure that when you sink down under the covers after a long day your body relaxes into the perfect sleeping space for you.  When it comes to bed, comfort is king! Do you prefer a pocket sprung or a memory foam mattress?  Or a combination of both? With so many variants of mattress to choose from, it’s worth popping along to your local Carpetright and trying out a few from our mattress station.  You will find a range of different types so have a lie down and see which one suits. It doesn’t matter if you nod off so long as you find the right one for you.

So now you have the perfect bed and mattress, what other changes can you make to rid yourself of insomnia?

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How can you sleep better?

There are many sleep hygiene recommendations that can be adopted that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis.  These include:

  • Regulating your sleep schedule. Ensure you are going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day particularly during your working week.
  • Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine. Wind down, avoid watching or reading anything too exciting and save stressful conversations until the morning.
  • Creating the perfect sleeping environment. Ensure it’s comfy, peaceful and dark. Not too hot, not too cold.
  • Napping with caution! Daytime naps are tempting to the night-sleep deprived, but they can cause disruption to your normal sleeping pattern and do more harm than good.
  • Avoiding stimulants too close to bed. Sadly that includes coffee, tea, nicotine and alcohol.  Tea and coffee both contain caffeine so a hot drink and a cigarette will spring your brain back into wake mode.  Or having a boozy nightcap might quickly send you off to the land of nod, but it will be short lived as once your body processes the alcohol, your mind will be stimulated once again.
  • Only using your bed for sleep. It’s not a good idea to watch TV or read in bed if you suffer from insomnia. Instead, train your brain to associate your bed with sleep and only sleep.
  • Exercising at the right time of day. Whilst exercise is known to promote quality sleep, it is important to not do anything rigorous too close to bedtime as it will take you too long to wind down. Keep cardio workouts for the morning or afternoon but a relaxing evening yoga session however, can do wonders to send you off to the land of nod.
  • Only going to bed when you are tired. There’s no point laying there tossing and turning if you know you are prone to sleeplessness; you’ll only feel more stressed. It’s better to get back out of bed if sleep doesn’t come and waiting until your eyes feel heavy and you are more ready to drop off.
  • Not eating too much before bed. Food can be disruptive to your sleeping patterns so make sure you leave enough time between eating a big meal and climbing into bed. Also, a little chocolate treat may seem like a good idea at night, but chocolate contains caffeine which will stimulate your brain.
  • Making sure you get lots of natural light during the day. Daylight exposure helps to maintain your natural sleep/wake cycle so try not to stay inside all day.

So check out our range of beds and mattresses in the first instance to create the perfect environment.  Make the above changes to your life, give up counting sheep once and for all and enjoy deep and restful sleep.