5 simple tips to revolutionise your sleep

1st June 2021 | Refocus, Reset

From sleeping schedules to nightcaps, these guidelines will help you wake up feeling brighter, healthier and ready for the day ahead.

Here at Hale, we’re passionate about living life optimally. But this means more to us than work outs, spa days and nutritious meals. We’re powered by our holistic approach to living, taking our dedication to health and wellness to new heights to help you maximise your potential and push your performance. 

As the demands of everyday life increase, sleep is regularly viewed as a nuisance to productivity. It’s easy to think that our sleep routine is as easy as phone down, PJs on and lights out. But according to the 2018/19 Great British Sleeping Habits survey, almost 23% of people living in the UK only get between five and six hours of sleep per night, and a report by Loughborough University (commissioned by the bed company Dreams) found that three in four employees in the UK suffer persistent sleep problems. 

According to leading neuroscientist Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep: “There is not one process in the human body (that we’re aware of) that isn’t improved by sleep”. Including reaching our fitness goals.  

How to get a more restful night's sleep

Stick to a sleep schedule

If you’re constantly changing the time you fall asleep and wake up, and are guilty of squeezing in those extra few hours in bed on the weekend, your body will find it difficult to adjust to a set sleeping schedule.  Research has also shown that an irregular sleeping pattern can cause irritability, drowsiness, mood swings, concentration problems and many more.  

Sticking to a regular sleep schedule – even on weekends – can help to maintain the timing of the body’s internal clock, making falling asleep and waking up easier. 

Room temperature

Research suggests that the temperature of your room can impact your sleep quality significantly. Experts advise ensuring your thermostat is set between 15.6 and 19.4 degrees in your bedroom for the most comfortable sleep. 

Our bodies naturally experience a slight dip in core temperature in the evening, so turning your thermostat down at night may signal to your body that it’s time for bed.  

Eating before bed

If you’re regularly struggling to get a good night’s sleep it could be a good idea to take a look at your eating habits. Eating food prompts a release of insulin, which has a direct impact on our circadian rhythm by signalling wakefulness in the brain and affecting our ability to fall asleep.  

Generally, nutritionists will suggest eating your last meal around three hours before heading to bed. However, as our lives become increasingly more hectic, simply reducing your portion sizes if you’re eating late could also have a positive impact on your ability to fall asleep.  

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Alcoholic drinks

You’d be forgiven for believing that your evening ‘nightcap’ before bed hits just the right spot in sending you off to sleep. However, neuroscientist Matthew Walker explains that due to alcohol’s sedative effect, the sleep we enter after drinking if more like anaesthesia than real sleep.  

The drowsiness of alcohol eventually wears off during the night, leaving you more prone to small wake-ups that disrupt the quality of your sleep. And, since most of us won’t remember these small interruptions, it would be hard to associate the tiredness we feel the following day to the alcohol-induced wake-ups we experience throughout the night.  

Overall, there’s nothing like real tiredness to ensure we're getting a quality night’s rest. 

Make your bedroom a gadget-free haven

Phones and computer screens can seriously impact your ability to drift off. The blue light these devices emit suppresses the secretion of melatonin; the body’s natural hormone that increases in the evening to help regulate your circadian rhythm. 

And, if you’re still struggling to get to sleep after 20 minutes in bed, Walker suggests getting up and doing something relaxing until you feel sleepy, such as reading a book, to avoid your mind connecting your bed with wakefulness.  

The takeaway

By prioritising the quality of your sleep, you’ll be giving your body time to recover, conserve energy and repair and build up muscles; taking you one step closer to achieving your fitness goals and leaving you refreshed and ready for your next workout. 

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