How to get to sleep faster and how to sleep better: tried and tested tricks you can try tonight

Create a sleep sanctuary where you'll nod off easily every night.
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  • How to fall asleep faster and how to sleep better once we do drift off have been topics of debate for centuries. 

    Sometimes, drifting off can feel like the last thing your mind wants to do. No matter how exhausted your body may be. Thoughts of the day, anxiety, 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 found that those who get more shut eye are more likely to identify as ‘productive people’. In addition to this, they also said they felt more happy and confident throughout the day. But how much sleep do we really need? And how can we fall asleep faster at night? And stay asleep for longer without that dreaded 5am stir?

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    How much ‘deep sleep’ do I need?

    Although conventional wisdom tells us we need eight hours a night, that doesn’t apply to everyone. The amount of rest 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 (the start of the sleep cycle), and 25% Rapid Eye Movement (REM) (usually when you dream).

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    Deep sleep is the most essential of all for feeling rested and staying healthy. Recent statistics show that the average healthy adult gets roughly 1 to 2 hours of deep sleep every night. You can monitor yours with a sleep app or a fitness tracker, like FitBit.

    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 actually seven, rather than the eight we usually associate with a good night’s rest. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine 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.

    Alison Cullen, Nutritional Therapist at A.Vogel agrees with this. She says that achieving less than seven hours sleep per night makes you more likely to develop a cold than if you slept for eight hours. “One hour extra a night will strengthen your immune system, make you more resistant to the effects of stress and reduce inflammatory processes,” she revealed.

    Is there a difference between how well men and women sleep?

    Every wondered why your husband always seems to get a better night’s rest 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 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 sleep than men.

    Try these expert-approved tricks to sleep better tonight

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