Getting a good nights sleep is vitally important to good health and is just as important as eating healthily or exercising. Lack of sleep can cause serious physical and mental health issues and can prevent you from completing day to day activities efficiently.
Experts say most people need 8 hours of good-quality sleep a night needed to function properly – but some people need more and some people less.
Below are FourFit's top 10 tips to getting a good nights sleep:
1) Avoid technology
Devices such as smart phones, tablets and TV emit a blue light, which suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin. Try and ban these types of devices from your bedroom and avoid looking at them for an hour before bed. Replace them with a book, catching up with a family member on the days events or play soothing music to help you unwind and relax.
2) Stay hydrated
Drinking water before bed can make your body become more alert and better equipped to digest food and burn calories more efficiently whilst you sleep. Drinking a cold glass of water before bed also promotes sleep, which is just one of the many water health benefits.
Before clocks existed, we would wake up when the sun rose and go to sleep when it got dark. Our bodies are built for sleeping in the dark and a darkened room helps us relax, feel sleepy and to drift off better.
4) Have a routine
Try to go to bed and wake up at similar times each day, this will allow your body to programme itself to waking and falling asleep at certain times. This is beneficial as you'll feel more refreshed and rested waking up naturally. We know with such busy lifestyles it is not always possible to keep to a routine, but try and get into a one to help you have a better nights sleep.
Exercise is not only great for your overall health, it's great for promoting a good nights sleep too. Research shows it is more beneficial to exercise when you wake in the morning or no more than 2 hours before going to sleep. It has been found that if you do a high intensity workout 2 or less hours before going to sleep this can affect your sleep quality.
6) Find time to relax
Like most of us find, everyday life and work commitments can become stressful and exhausting at times and this can often affect our quality of sleep. It is very important you find the time during the evening to switch off and give your mind a break from these thoughts. Sit down with a cup of tea or coffee, read a book, take a bath or make a to-do-list for the following day or the rest of the week can help free your mind of all the things you need to do.
7) Have a hot bath
At night, your body temperature slightly drops, this is then communicated to your brain that you're nearly ready to go to sleep and it begins to release melatonin. When you take a hot bath in the evening, your body temperature heats up. Then when you get out of the bath, the water evaporates from the skin, cooling you down and stimulating your brain to release melatonin and signally to your brain it's nearly time to sleep.
8) Watch what you eat before bed
Eating before bed is not directly linked to weight-gain, any calories your body does not burn throughout the day will be stored as fat.
Although what you eat before bed can affect your sleep quality, it is recommended to avoid spicy, acidic foods as these foods can cause things like heartburn and acid-reflux, which can be quite uncomfortable and prevent a good nights sleep.
9) Get the bedroom at the right temperature.
Temperature plays a very big role when we're drifting off to sleep. When we settle down for the night, our body temperature begins to decrease, usually a degree or two cooler than compared to that in the daytime. This change in temperature promotes the onset of sleep and having a cool bedroom can really help. Take the appropriate steps to ensure yourself and your room remains cool at night. Keep it as dark as possible, blocking out any natural or LED lighting. Also ensure you have the appropriate bedding: a nice cozy quilt for the winter and thin blankets for the summer
10) Avoid sleeping in - evening on weekends and holidays
When you sleep in this affects the routine you've worked so hard to get in to. If you need to make up sleep from a late night or lack of sleep during the night, opt for a daytime nap to make up for the time, so to not disturb your natural sleep cycle.
If you're worried about or curious to know how much sleep you're getting and the quality of your sleep, invest in one of our FourFit Signa, Fitband or Mini, where you can access your full in-depth sleep analysis.