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?

how to get a better sleep

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.

Tip #1: Enrich Your Bedroom with Sleep-Friendly Fragrance

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.

  • Lavender — With its calming floral scent, lavender has been used to reduce anxiety and bring about sleep for centuries. The scent of this lilac-coloured flower can slow the nervous system, helping the body to slide into sleep. It’s also great for relaxing mind and body, ensuring a restful, quality sleep.
  • Vanilla — Natural vanilla extract is one of the world’s great relaxers, and can help to stimulate the body into a restful night’s sleep. Studies show that the scent of vanilla can improve blood pressure, reducing stress and making it easier for the body to relax — perfect for those who find themselves tossing and turning at night.
  • Jasmine — Jasmine is not only one of the world’s best-loved scents, it also packs a surprisingly effective sleep punch — helping you drift off at a moment’s notice. The sweet-smelling flower is thought to improve the quality and efficiency of your sleep, so you’re less likely to wake up in the night.

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.

Tip #2: Power Down Your Tech Long Before Bed

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.

how to get a better sleep

Tip #3: Keep Your Bedroom Cool

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. 

Tip #4: Reduce Your Caffeine Intake in the PM

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.

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Tip #5: Keep Your Room Quiet — But Not Too Quiet

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.

how to get a better sleep

Tip #6: Get Plenty of Exercise

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.

Tip #7: Paint Your Bedroom a Soothing Shade

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.

Tip #8: Avoid Heavy Meals Before 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.

how to get a better sleep

Tip #9: Ban Pets from Your Bed

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.

Tip #10: Meditate for 5 Minutes Before Sleep

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.