Getting a good nights rest is being considered more and more a priority than a luxury, with the strong understanding that in order to function at our best we must take time to rest. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults to aim for 7–9 hours of sleep a night (1), and while there will be times in our life where sleep is compromised, maximising what time we can will always pay huge dividends to how we feel the following day - time in bed is never regretted!
For this blog, I’ve paired up with Sealy NZ to chat about some simple tips and considerations for getting a good night’s rest. With summer just around the corner, now’s a great time to reflect on our sleeping habits, and ways we can encourage restful sleep over our warmest months of the year. For tips during winter time, check out my winter blog with Sealy here.
Components of a good night's rest - our bedroom environment
To encourage a good night’s rest, it’s important for our bedroom environment to be a sancturary conducive of sleep, rather than a place that distracts from it. Here are elements to consider:
Over the summer months, a rising thermostat can impact our slumber. According to research, the temperature range of 16-19 degrees celcius is ideal for drifting off to sleep (2), and as this climbs we may begin to feel restless. To help regulate temperature try:
Dressing according - light breathable cotton pyjamas help with keeping cool.
Save any heavier bedding for winter and instead opt for single sheets.
Maximise cool air circulation or cross-breezes through your bedroom by keeping a window open (if appropriate/safe to) or utilising a fan.
Take a cool refreshing shower before bed.
Considering the amount of time we spend on it, and it’s impact on our sleep quality, our bed really is an important investment. The key here is our mattress, and ultimately it’s a personal decision around it’s comfort, feel and space. When a mattress lacks comfort and support, or we don’t have enough space (hello, spreadeagled sleeping partner!), this can encourage a poor sleeping posture.
The feel of our bed, everything from the mattress to the pillow, can make a big difference between a restful verses a restless night sleep.
Finding the right comfort level (e.g. a mattress that is firm, plush/soft or ultra plush/soft) is easier than you’d think! It just requires time testing what feels best to you. When selecting a mattress aim to spend a few minutes on each bed to really feel the difference. Once you’ve found a comfort you like, try out other models within the range to see what you like best (3).
Night is synonymous with sleep, and there’s biological reasoning for this - light suppresss melatonin production, a hormone that encourages sleep.
In anticipation for bed, minimising our exposure to bright lights (especially those backlighting our technology e.g. televisions, mobiles, laptops or tablets), in favour of lamps or bedroom candles, can be effective and all-natural, strategy to help coax our body to dreamland.
To avoid waking from that early morning sun, trail an eye-mask or blackout blinds.
Over the summer nights, Daylight Savings means we have an extra sunlight in the evening (and possible fun!) to enjoy - allow yourself time to unwind before bed.
We’re in the age of smartphone use, and 24/7 accessibility - much to our detriment of sleep. With all of it’s benefits, technology is a double-edge for sleep - it’s mentally stimulating, and our brightly-lit devices can impact the release of our sleep-inducing hormone. Our bedrooms need to be a place of rest, relaxation or intimacy, and not much more. Just like our technological devices need to recharge their batteries, as do we.
Keep the bedroom a strict work-free zone, and ideally tech-free, as much as possible.
Set a digital curfew and ‘power-down’ for the day along with your technological devices. Aim for as much time as you can, but a minimum of 30 minutes to one hour before bed. Instead use this time to read a book, do some stretches or organising for the next day (e.g. leave out your outfit, pack a bag…).
If you use your phone as an alarm clock, always put it on airplane mode. Or go for a good old-fasihoned alarm clock.
When there’s a lot on our plate, it can be difficult not to take thoughts, pressures and our to-do lists to bed. When we hope into bed physically tired, but mentally wired, and find ourselves unable to switch off, this can bring on a whole new wave of stress. If you’re dealing with pressure or stress, try carving out some time before bed to help calm, support and relax yourself.
Try a relaxing activity, like stretching or gentle yoga, reading a chapter of your favourite book, having a cup of tea in your favourite mug, or doing some deep belly breathing.
Or into mental decluttering by journaling or chatting to someone you trust.
Creating a bedtime routine
Our sleep hygiene are any habit and practices we have in place that are conducive to improving our sleep quality. One of the simplest ways we can improve our sleep hygiene is by putting a bedtime routine in place that is sustainable around our lifestyle - with time, a commitment to our bedtime routine can make a huge difference to us drifting off at night.
Here are some tips to creating a bedtime routine:
Be mindful of your natural body clock. Don’t ignore tiredness by delaying sleep, and don’t linger in bed longer than you feel you need to.
Avoid stimulating drinks that contain caffeine near bed, like coffee or black teas. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, trial not having a caffeinated beverage after midday. Instead wind down in the evening with a relaxing herbal beverage, like camomile or another bedtime tea.
Adjust your bedroom to ensure the light, tempatue and noise are comfortable for you - this may require a face mask, earplugs or a fan occasionally!
Find out more information about the bed I am sleeping on, click here. Big love to Sealy for pairing up with me to create this piece of content! Sleep is paramount for health and well-being and a good night's rest helps us make the most out of our day. I have been adoring my Sealy bed, and find it supportive and exceptionally comfortable - it truly feels like I'm sleeping on a cloud! <3
1. National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. Hirshkowitz, Max et al. Sleep Health: Journal of the National Sleep Foundation , Volume 1 , Issue 1 , 40 - 43
2, Onen SH, Onen F, Bailly D, Parquet P. Prevention and treatment of sleep disorders through regulation of sleeping habits. Presse Med.1994; Mar 12; 23(10): 485-9.