Sleep is easy to take for granted. But when you’re longing for your bed only moments after getting up in the morning or struggling to make it through the day without a double espresso or an energy drink, you quickly realise that benefits of a good night’s rest are profound and far-reaching. Not only does a decent spell of shuteye make carrying out everyday chores easier, it can also have a positive impact on your health.
The fact is that chronic lack of sleep can have serious consequences for our bodies; it can disrupt the immune system, lower fertility levels and has been linked to decreased sex drive, low mood and weight gain. If that’s not enough to have you reaching for your pillow, sleeplessness can even increase the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. Despite all of this, many of us do not get sufficient slumber and often our bedtime routine is to blame. In fact, an infographic on the blog page of www.adjustablebeds.co.uk shows that a significant proportion of people take part in activities that disturb the sleep-wake cycle.
To find out how healthy your routine is, ask yourself the following questions.
Do you have an established routine?
Keeping regular hours is key to being able to drift off without too much effort. By getting up and going to bed at the same times every day, you can programme yourself to be able to fall and stay asleep until the morning.
Do you take the time to wind down?
It’s important to take the time to relax before bedtime. According to the survey carried out by Adjustamatic, 40% of people work in the hour before they go to bed. This kind of stimulating activity can result in difficulties falling asleep when it comes to lights-out time and should be avoided. Why not use this time to have a bath, listen to some soothing music or practise meditation?
Do you switch off your electronics?
In the aforementioned survey, 86% of participants reported that they browse the web and 81% watch TV in the critical pre-bedtime hour. While scrolling through your social media feed or catching up on the latest installment of your favourite series may seem like a relaxing way to spend your evening, it’s important to be aware of the potential negative side effects of too much ‘screen time’. Studies have suggested that exposure to the artificial light emitted by some devices may suppress the hormone melatonin, which controls the sleep-wake cycle.
Do you eat heavy meals or drink caffeine in the evening?
Eating a big meal before you drop off can cause your digestive system to go into overdrive, which can make falling into a restful slumber very difficult. Caffeine, too, can wreak havoc on your ability to get forty winks, so it’s best to forgo your evening coffee, tea or caffeinated fizzy drink. In fact, due to its stimulant effects, it’s advised that you abstain from caffeine for four to six hours before you hit the hay.
Remember, you don’t have to do anything drastic to see results. If you make small changes such as the ones outlined above, you should soon find yourself well rested.