How to sleep better: how to create a sleep sanctuary
Every wondered why your husband always seems to get a better nights sleep than you? Well now there’s scientific evidence to explain it. Scientists have found that men and women’s circadian clocks are set differently. Canadian research has shown that women’s natural sleep rhythms are two hours ahead of men’s – which means women are often fighting their natural body clock to stay awake at night! This can often lead to problems sleeping at night and feelings of exhaustion in the morning. This new research shows women are 50% more likely to struggle with sleeping than men.
Our expects reveal how with their top tips and techniques of how to get a better nights sleep…
So, how much sleep do you really need?
Although conventional wisdom tells us we need eight hours a night, that doesn’t apply to everyone, and the maount of sleep you need is very individual.
The key is how refreshed you feel when you awake, which is influenced by the different types of sleep you get: about 75% should be non-REM sleep (the start of sleep cycle), and 25% Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep (usually when you dream).
The brain allocates the correct proportions in the amounts you need, and if you wake up feeling refreshed then you are getting enough. New research suggests that the optimum number of hours is seven. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) analysed sleep-time data and concluded that if you get less than seven hours on a regular basis, you could be more at risk of hypertension, diabetes, stroke and other cardiovascular and metabolic disorders.
Meet our experts – we spoke to the following sleep specialists about how to get you the best nights sleep you can get!
Dr Simon Merritt is a consultant in sleep and respiratory medicine based at the conquest Hospital, East Sussex, and the Spire Essex Hospital, and is a member of the British Sleep Society
Dr Irshaad Ebrahim is a neuropsychiatrist specialising in sleep at the London Sleep Centre
Dr Rosemary Leonard MBE is a GP and w&h’s medical expert
Jennie Miller is a Hampshire-based psychotherapist
Christine Webber is a psychotherapist with a practice on Harley Street
Click through to see how to get started on your journey to a better nights sleep…
The temperature of your room, even the colour of you walls, can determine the odds of a great night’s sleep.
Lisa Artis from The Sleep Council gives her seven golden rules to ensure your room is ready to help you nod off…
Feeling too hot or too cold in the night can lead to restless sleep and wakefulness. The ideal temperature is between 16 and 18 degrees.
Use the right duvet tog for the time of year and layer sheets or blankets, which can be removed easily. If you get cold feet, wear bed socks (luxurious cashmere versions are available from The White Company and Brora)
Rich colours such as purple, gold or red stimulate you, resulting in poor sleep. Bedrooms painted blue tend to see the best rest, followed by green and yellow.
Light is a common sleep “robber” so invest in a pair of of well-lined curtains, which keep the room dark.
Sudden noises disrupt sleep. Double-glazing reduces external noise, but a cheaper option is a good pair of earplugs.
The bedroom should be a haven for calm and relaxation so banish your mobile, computers, TV and anything else that’s likely to distract from sleep or wake you up once you’ve nodded off.