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Create a sleep sanctuary where you'll nod off easily every night...
Sometimes, getting to sleep can feel like the last thing your mind wants to do – no matter how exhausted your body may be.
Thoughts of the day, worries, and thinking about what you need to get done the next day might consume you. But getting a good night’s kip is more important than ever – especially with the news that sleeping can actually make you more productive.
A recent study of 2,000 Americans found that those who nap were more likely to identify as ‘productive people’. Within the study they were found to be more happy and confident too – with 90% of nappers saying they were happy, compared to 79% of non-nappers. So even if you can’t rely on quality sleep at night – making sure you get some during the day could be the answer!
Is there a difference between how well men sleep and how well women sleep?
Every wondered why your husband always seems to get a better night’s 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.
So how much sleep do we all need?
It’s the age-old question – 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 amount 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.
So how can you get a better night’s sleep? Follow these simple rules and we promise you’ll find drifting off a whole lot easier…
Your choice of pyjamas is key when trying to get a good night's sleep, according to Professor Jason Ellis, director of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research.
Speaking on the Yahoo News UK's podcast Britain is a Nation of… the researcher argued that our choice of night-time attire is vital for regulating body temperature as we get 40 winks.
He recommends opting for cotton or silk because, “These two allow you to breathe and they help regulate your own body temperature.”
Continuing he added, “The difficulty comes because as women get to a certain age they are going to have hot flashes in the night and that’s going to compound the problem of that temperature regulation.”
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.
A high-tech pillow, such as the Casper pillow, can aid your sleep greatly by ensuring your neck is supported and spine is aligned.
The 100% cotton cover features a breathable percale weave. When paired with the silky fibres inside, the cover increases airflow, so you’re always sleeping on the cool side of the pillow.
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.