HAVE YOU ever gone to bed early with the intention of getting a good night’s kip, only to wake up more tired than you started? Or woken up feeling refreshed after only clocking up five or six hours’ sleep?
Getting enough rest starts with healthy sleep habits such as keeping regular hours, not watching too much TV or using a computer near bedtime and cutting back on caffeine. But there are other less obvious things you can do as well:
1. TURN DOWN THE THERMOSTAT
Ensure your bedroom isn’t too warm. Temperature can be the difference between a sound sleep and a fitful night that leaves you feeling tired the next day, says sleep expert Dr Christopher Winter of the Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center in Virginia.
2 TAKE A COOL SHOWER
A soak in the tub has long been a popular way of winding down before bed but if the water is too hot you could be raising your body temperature at a time when it is naturally programmed to fall. Take a cooler bath or shower instead.
3 SWITCH TO WOOL BEDDING
The average person loses a litre of water through sweat each night which cannot be absorbed through down or synthetic bedding. If moisture sits on the skin it causes a heat build-up and enough discomfort to pull you out of deep sleep.
Duvets and pillows with a wool filling draw sweat away from the body and hold it inside the fibres, helping to regulate body temperature.
4 GET A BIGGER BED
Is your bed big enough for your needs? Being disturbed by a partner is one of the most common complaints for poor quality sleep, according to the Sleep Council.
If you share your bed with another person you should be able to lie side by side with your arms behind your head and your elbows out, without touching. A standard double bed is 4ft 6in (135cm) wide, giving each person 2ft 3in of space to sleep in – less than the width of a baby’s cot!
5 DRINK CHERRY JUICE
Forget counting sheep. If you want a deep sleep have a glass of cherry juice instead. A Northumbria University study suggests the tart fruit drink significantly increases levels of melatonin, the hormone which regulates sleep.
6 HAVE A BANANA
Avoid eating heavy, rich foods within two hours of bedtime. Fatty meals take a lot of digestion and give your stomach too much work to do.
However a light snack before bed can help promote sleep. The ideal pre-bed nibbles are small enough that they won’t need a lot of digestion. Try a small bowl of porridge with a chopped banana or toasted pitta with hummus.
7 DRINK VALERIAN TEA OR TAKE NITEHERB!
The valerian plant was identified as a cure for insomnia by the ancient Greeks in the second century AD.
The root extract is said to have positive effects on sleep structure, helping you to slip more quickly into the deeper levels of slow-wave sleep.
NiteHerb contains 150mg of Valerian root extract and is a traditional herbal remedy used to relieve sleep disturbances. For more information and special prices visit www.niteherb.co.uk. Always read the label.