With reports suggesting that us Brits are missing out on an average of an hour’s sleep every night, what can you do to guarantee a great sleep night after night?
From boosting your mood, your memory and your immune system to spurring creativity and curbing inflammation of the joints — the benefits of a good night’s sleep are endless. Fail to get enough sleep however, and you’ll suffer as many harmful effects, including increased stress levels, poor concentration, weight gain and mood swings.
Figures from The Sleep Council reveal that one third of Brits are now sleeping for just 5-6 hours per night, less than the 7-8 hours prescribed by the NHS. But are there any effective ways to improve your bedtime shut-eye?
Here, we give 10 of the best tips for a better night’s sleep, and consider the smells and fragrances which can aid your precious slumber.
Natural botanical fragrances have long been prescribed for a good night’s sleep, easing body and mind and ensuring a comfortable and familiar environment in the bedroom. But which smells are best for a good kip? Here, we take a quick look at the top 3 fragrances that encourage an enchanting night’s sleep.
How best to deliver these scents into your bedroom? As candles can’t be left burning while you sleep, we’d recommend a diffuser — to fill your room with natural, long-lasting fragrance all night long.
Regularly check your smartphone or tablet in bed, or stay up late watching TV? You could be damaging your chances of a quality night’s sleep. Bright light emitted from electronic devices tells the brain to stay awake and alert, which isn’t the signal you want to be sending when you’ve just climbed beneath the sheets. Avoid looking at bright screens an hour before you plan to sleep, to make sure your brain is properly prepared for snoozing.
Over the course of a day our body temperature rises and falls, and it’s when it’s at its coolest that we’re most tired. Cool temperatures help the brain to wind down and prepare for sleep, whilst warm temperatures encourage blood flow, keeping the body awake. If your bedroom is too warm on an evening, you’re more likely to toss and turn. Open a window a few minutes before bed and make sure your bedsheets are suitable for the time of year, so your body can be cool and comfortable beneath the sheets. A cold bedroom might sound counterintuitive to a good night’s sleep, but it’s proven to work.
While a coffee pick-me-up in the afternoon might sound like a good idea, it could be the reason why you’re suffering sleepless nights. Caffeine stays in the system much longer than you might think, with the effects lingering up to five hours after you enjoyed your last cup of joe. And it isn’t just coffee that’s packed with caffeine; fizzy drinks, chocolate bars and tea contain large amounts of the stimulant, so try to avoid these in the afternoon if you can.
Of course, you need a quiet space if you want to enjoy a restful night’s sleep, so if your bedroom is plagued by traffic noise, sirens or your partner’s snoring you might want to invest in some sleep-friendly ear plugs. But while things should be peaceful, your room shouldn’t be completely silent. If it’s too quiet you’ll become aware of every little noise, from the ticking of the clock on the wall to your furry friend’s footsteps as they sneak to the kitchen for a midnight snack. If you find yourself stirred by silence, ear plugs or a white noise maker should help.
It’s simple really: add a few minutes of physical activity to your day, and you’ll sleep better at night. That’s because your body is more physically tired, and needs to rest to regenerate. Even a leisurely evening stroll can tire the body enough to ensure a good night’s sleep. Just make sure you don’t exercise too late in the day, otherwise your body will be on high alert as you’re trying to power down.
Pale blue, yellow or white; the colour doesn’t matter, provided it soothes you. Bright, lurid wall colours can be distracting and obtrusive to sleep, so we’d recommend a pale, matt paint that makes for a relaxing and calming environment. This theme should be applied throughout the room, promising you an oasis of calm and tranquillity come bedtime.
Your body struggles to digest food while you sleep, so avoid large, heavy meals just before lights out. Digestion is one of the body’s most disruptive processes, so if you’ve eaten your way through a spicy curry or cheesy pizza shortly before sleep you can all but guarantee a restless night. If you are feeling peckish, foods like crackers, eggs and low-fat dairy can make for a good pre-sleep snack.
No matter how cuddly they are, furry friends should be kept out of the bedroom while you sleep. Not only could every tail wag, stretch or purr wake you from your precious slumber, pet dander can trigger allergies and cause snoring, so you could find yourself being woken up feeling like you’ve developed a bad cold.
If you struggle to switch off your thoughts on a night, a spot of pre-sleep meditation could work wonders to help you power down and unwind. Five minutes of yoga or simple meditation promote mindfulness, easing tension and helping you put those worrisome thoughts to bed. They also slow your heart rate and breathing, helping your body to switch off and drift off sooner.
At Parks, we use 100% natural products to create all our wax candles and room diffusers, so you can fill your home with fragrances which promote relaxation, tranquillity and personal wellbeing. To browse our collection, visit the homepage or call us on 0208 830 6300 for more information.