The clocks have finally gone back, which means it's time to get that sleeping pattern back on track!
With technology making sure we're accessible all day every day, it's never been harder to unwind and get that perfect night's sleep.
To help you on your way to sleeping the whole night through, we've teamed up with And So To Bed to get some top advice from chartered psychologist and neuroscientist, Dr Lindsay Browning!
1. Keep a regular sleep and wake time
This will help you to sleep well by boosting your circadian rhythm. When you change this each day, your body gets confused as to when it’s time to sleep. Even if you haven’t slept well the night before, resist the temptation to lie in! Just get up at your usual time - this will really help you to get to sleep easier the next night.
2. Reduce caffeine
Caffeine stops your brain from realising how tired you are. Six hours after your cup of coffee, half of the caffeine is still in your system! It’s not only found in tea and coffee, but also in chocolate and fizzy drinks. If you have trouble sleeping, limit caffeine to before 11am.
3. Increase your exercise levels
Exercise directly impacts your need for ‘deep sleep’ at night. The more you exercise, the more deep sleep you’ll have, making you feel refreshed when you wake up. Make sure that you exercise during the daytime and not too close to bed time.
4. Ensure that you have a good, supportive bed
If your bed is old and uncomfortable, or too soft or too firm, you will struggle to drift off to sleep. A good mattress should support your body while being comfortable enough for you to feel relaxed. Your shoulders and hips should sink into the mattress, with your back supported so that your spine stays straight, not curved.
5. Avoid heavy meals around bedtime
Eating a large meal too close to bedtime can cause indigestion, making it harder to sleep. However, going to bed on a very empty stomach can also hinder sleep. Try to eat a light snack before bed with complex carbohydrates and dairy, such as an oat biscuit and a glass of milk.
6. Give yourself an hour before sleep to wind down
Switch off your TV and laptop an hour before bed and do something relaxing instead. If you are working straight before you sleep, you will find it hard to move from work mode to sleep mode. A relaxing activity such as reading, listening to music or meditating before bed will help.
7. Have a warm bath before bed
Your body temperature decreases as you fall asleep. If you have a warm bath, you artificially raise your body temperature. So when you get into bed, your body temperature will naturally mimic the drop in temperature that happens as you fall asleep.
8. If you can’t sleep, get up!
If you’ve been lying in bed for a long while, simply get up. The longer you lie in bed clock-watching, the more anxious you’ll become. It’s much better to get out of bed and do something else for a while (like read a book) until you feel more sleepy.
For more sleeping info and bed advice, visit www.andsotobed.co.uk.