How to sleep better
|Contact us if you need more information on the causes of sleep disturbance below. We can put you in touch with several expert bodies on sleep disorders.
CAUSES OF DISTURBED SLEEP - You sleep in cycles of 80-110 minutes. If you are woken during this cycle, you will feel groggy and tired, and your body will have to reset itself to start the cycle again. If you wake naturally at the end of a cycle, you should feel refreshed and ready to face the day.
1. Light: do not leave a light on when you go to sleep and buy low wattage light bulbs for your bedroom and bathroom. Eyes are sensitive to light in the night and turning on a lamp resets your sleep cycle. Buy heavier curtains or thick lining. In summer months sunrise interrupts your sleep and is a surprisingly common cause of sleep disturbance. Consider an eye mask if you wake easily from the light.
2. Sound: install double glazing, carpeting and / or curtains - noises like traffic or noisy neighbours alert the brain during sleep. Leave a radio on but tuned in to ‘static’ or leave an electric fan on in your room if there is too much noise outside. Mask noise with white noise rather than music, which alerts the brain (the spoken word particularly so). Consider earplugs if the noise is particularly bad.
3. Mattress size - width: A big reason for sleep disruption especially for those with partners. The average person turns over 80 times in a night so unsurprisingly the movements of your partner disrupt your sleep. In the UK, the average bed gives a couple just 2’3” of space to sleep in: less than a baby in its cot. A wider bed solves these problems.
4. Mattress size - length: Beds that are too short also disrupt sleep, with diagonal sleeping, cold feet and back problems the usual causes.
5. Mattress quality: An old or cheap mattress causes all sorts of problems with sleep. Difficulties range from back problems, to allergies, to partners ending up in the middle of a sagging mattress fighting for space. On the flip side an overly hard mattress can cause back problems too –beware some manufacturers selling “orthopaedic” mattresses that are in reality ultra-hard.
6. Temperature: keep room temperature in the range 18-24c. Body temperature falls during the night, so if you fall asleep cold, you may wake up in the middle of the night freezing! Alternatively, if the room is too hot your body will be concentrating on keeping cool (sweating and turning) rather than sleeping.
7. Snoring: the most common reasons for this are;
reaction to allergies. Try different bedding or pillows, wash them at least once a week and keep the room dust and pet-free. Look at buying our allergen-reducing mattresses and pillows, or call us for more information.
bad sleeping position. Try a bigger, better fitting mattress and supportive pillows.
reaction to infection or alcohol. A cold or a few drinks change the way you breathe. Alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine can also affect the quality of sleep you get directly. For more information contact your doctor.
8. Caffeine / sugar intake: try not to drink caffeinated or sugary drinks within three to four hours before going to bed. It is surprising how long these subtances stay in your body and raise your heart rate.
9. Other health issues: common causes include sleep apnoea, where the sufferer has difficulty breathing, stress, or chronic back problems. For more information, or if you have followed these guidelines and are still not sleeping, then please contact your doctor.