National Bed Month – 7 Steps to a Better Nights Sleep

National-Bed-MonthGetting a better night’s sleep during National Bed Month

With March being National Bed Month it got us thinking about how well we sleep and the environment we choose to sleep in. It is said by The Sleep Council that there are 7 steps we can take to a better nights sleep.

1.Declutter Your Bedroom

The first thing if you’re having trouble sleeping is to take a look at the environment you are expecting to actually sleep in. This environment should be clean, peaceful and welcoming.  It should not be a cluttered space where you dump everything you wish others not to see.

Thankfully transforming your bedroom surroundings is a fairly easy thing to do and could be the one thing preventing you from a peaceful nights sleep.

Top tips for making your bedroom the right environment for a good nights sleep

• Make your sleeping environment as dark as possible.  This can be achieved with a black out blind or even an eye mask.
• Get your room to just the right temperature, this is better on the cooler side rather than being too warm.  You can always snuggle further under the covers if you’re feeling the chill. 16-18 degrees is considered optimum.
De-clutter your bedroom.  Keep it neat and simple moving anything from sight that doesn’t need to be there.

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• Remove electricals such as TV’s, phones and computers which will switch you on rather than switch you off. This also applies to digital alarm clocks that disrupt the darkness.

• Choose soft, muted tones when decorating your bedroom which will encourage a feeling of calm.
• Use essential oils such as lavender or geranium known to be naturally calming.
If you’re going to bring anything into your bedroom space choose family photographs, plants, flowers and ornaments which will help to create a room that’s pleasant and relaxing.

(Put a frame together of your favourite family photos with this classic or distressed frame from The Orchard http://www.theorchardhomeandgifts.com/search.php?criteria=eight+frame)

Personalised Eight Frame-2

2. Your Bed

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It’s pretty obvious but of course a comfortable bed is the foundation of a goods night sleep. Combined with this a good quality comfortable mattress that gives you a good sleeping posture is a must.  As hard as it is putting quality before price when buying a mattress will make a huge difference to your quality of sleep.

First though to choose a bed that suits your style and individual taste. Here at The Orchard we have a range of beds to suit your home no matter your preference.

Beds

To see these and our full collection of beds click here: http://www.theorchardhomeandgifts.com/beds~85-c.html

3. Lifestyle

It’s no wonder with the way our 21st century lifestyles run that we struggle to switch off at night. We need to find ways to wind down and relax after our hectic days and remove ourselves from phones, emails and TV’s that only stimulate our minds as opposed to relax them.  There are minor changes you can make to improve sleep, relax and unwind from the technology-crammed world that we live in:

• Reduce the intensity of artificial light in your bedroom by using dimmer switches or low wattage bulbs.
• Get into a routine when it comes to bedtime.
Use a hot water bottle if you get cold.
• Avoid caffeine or alcohol before bed.
• Switch off your tech at least a couple of hours before bedtime, including your phone!
• Empty your bladder before bed, and try not to consume too many liquids before you head to bed.

4. Be More Mindful

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Take time out to relax and destress.  If your heart rate increases due to stress and anxiety so too does your brain making you far too stimulated to get a good nights sleep.

There are a number of techniques you can try to reduce the chances of a restless night.

Extreme but necessary if you are really struggling with bedtime is cognitive behavioural therapy.  This type of therapy aims to undo the thought processes that cause anxiety prior to sleep.

Another technique is to place your hand on your heart and feel the beats.  Then breath in for 4 seconds and then breath out slowly.  You will begin to focus more on the breathing and heart rate and in turn slow down brain activity and begin to relax.

The final technique is all about saying your thoughts out loud and offloading your brain prior to bedtime; the only clause is that instead of the worrying thoughts find the positive alternatives so instead of ‘my credit card bill is due I don’t have the money to pay it’ say ‘I will find a way to pay my credit card bill’.

5. Diet

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Believe it or not there are a list of foods that aid better sleep.

These include:

Milk

Cherries

Chicken

Rice

Not a surprise but fatty meat, curry and alcohol are some of the worst things to eat before you head up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire!

Here are some more helpful dietary tips to see you to a better night’s sleep:

• Avoid stimulants like caffeine and cigarettes before bed.

• Combine foods high in protein with a low to medium glycemic index carbohydrate, which optimises tryptophan levels.
Avoid sedatives, such as sleeping pills and alcohol, to help you sleep.
• Don’t buy melatonin supplements online. They are only available on prescription in the UK. Taking prescribed melatonin will disrupt your own natural melatonin production, potentially suppressing your ability to naturally generate this important hormone.
Wean yourself off sleep medication don’t just stop suddenly.
• It may take a while to see results but changing your diet and keeping a diary of your quality of sleep could really help you make better choices when it comes to eating prior to bedtime.

6. Get Active

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The amount of exercise you do can have huge benefits on the quality of sleep you get.  Tiring the body out gently can help promote a better nights sleep. Exercising can also help release pent up tension and stress while lowering your body temperature inducing better sleep.

Therapy & Relaxation

Similar to being more mindful it is important to find a method in which to switch off from your hectic day to day lifestyle and de-stress to promote a deep and restful sleep.

Relax Your Body

One for while you’re lay in bed to make you more aware of your body:

1. Tense a muscle, for example your bicep, by contracting for 7-10 seconds. Flex it gently – do not strain.
2. At the same time, visualise the muscle being tensed, feeling the build up of tension.
3. Release the muscle abruptly and then relax, allowing the body to go limp. Take a few moments before moving on to the next muscle.
4. Remember to keep the rest of your body relaxed whilst working on each particular muscle.

 

Again Cognitive Behavioural Therapy may be useful for those will more built in sleep issues such as insomnia and to beat intense anxiety.

7. Write a List

A simple but effect way is to ‘brain-dump’ your thoughts.  Before going to sleep write down anything you need to remember for the next day; any worries or concerns you may have or things you need to remember.  This way the worries won’t keep you awake and you can leave your mind free, peaceful and ready to drift off into snoozeville.