There are plenty of people in Ireland who struggle to enjoy a good night's sleep, but it is essential for people to ensure that they get a sufficient amount of rest every day.
Emotional health, general wellbeing, nutrition and technology are amongst the main factors that can have a negative impact on sleep, but there are a plethora of ways to create optimum conditions to make the most of your time in bed.
Tiredness at work is a major issue in Ireland, with studies showing that over 70% of employees have admitted to regularly drinking caffeinated drinks in order to stay awake.
Falling asleep at work makes an employee a big danger to themselves and their fellow colleagues, particularly in sectors that require a high level of concentration.
Neglecting sleep is also bad for mental health, can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s, add to feelings of loneliness and cause social isolation.
However, there are numerous tips and tricks you can employ to improve your resting hours. Read on as we look at five things you can do now to improve your sleep.
Establish a sleep schedule
If you find yourself awake at night, or waking up later or earlier than you would like, your sleep schedule is probably well out of sync.
A poor sleep schedule is the main reason people suffer with insomnia. During this time your body clock naturally prefers to sleep late and wake late, which makes it harder to stick to a good sleep schedule.
Establishing a good sleep schedule isn’t difficult, although it does require determination and a good dose of self-discipline.
Research has found that the optimum amount of sleep for an adult should be between 7-9 hours per night. A little trial and error may be needed to work out the number that works best for you.
Once you’ve you done this, transition slowly from your current schedule to the new schedule making sure it fits with your daily activities.
When you have achieved this, make sure you stick to these times every day of the week as a weekend lie-in can throw your schedule out for the next few days.
Make your bedroom a comfortable place
If you’re going to hit your target of getting the optimum amount of sleep, it makes sense to make the room you be spending plenty of time in the most welcoming it possibly can be.
If you make your bedroom space a relaxing place to be, it will play an important part in helping you get a good night’s sleep.
Purchase products like a good quality mattress and furniture that creates an ambience that allows you to get the most out of the time you spend in your bedroom.
Investing in good quality lighting is also important in a bedroom, helping to create an atmosphere designed to promote the ultimate relaxation conditions.
Listening to music, reading a book, taking a warm bath or meditating before you go to bed makes it much easier to fall asleep.
Snuggling up with your partner before sleeping can also give you a relaxing sensation, helping you drift off into a deep and comforting sleep.
Maintain a comfortable room temperature
In order to enjoy a restful night’s sleep, you must pay some attention to your environment and that includes regulating the temperature.
Your body heat peaks in the evening and then drops to its lowest levels when you are asleep, so a cool 16-18°C is believed to be an ideal temperature in a bedroom.
Slightly higher temperatures are necessary for babies and toddlers, but it is important to ensure the room is not too overheated.
Temperatures over 24°C are certainly likely to cause restlessness, while a cold room of about 12°C will make it very difficult to drop off.
Invest in a room thermometer to keep track of temperatures and purchase a range of suitable bedding depending on the season.
There are also numerous technologies available that can actually help you sleep. Sleep devices such as smart cooling mattresses have become increasingly popular over the past few years.
Keep yourself fit
Taking regular exercise not only improves your general health and wellbeing, but it also helps you use the energy you've stored from eating and aids your sleep.
Research has found that almost one in five workers in Ireland are obese, with 80 percent of those surveyed admitting that poor sleep has greatly affected their energy and mood.
Eating healthily and avoiding excessive alcohol intake can help your general fitness levels, but partaking in some form of exercise is also hugely important
Exercising early in the morning offers numerous benefits, both to your health and to your daily schedule, so get out of bed earlier and you will reap the rewards.
Make sure you exercise at least five hours before going to bed, to allow time for your adrenaline levels to return to normal.
Sleeping then gives your body time to recover, repairing and building up the muscles worked during exercise, effectively creating a cycle that benefits your all-round health.
Put your devices away
Mobile phones, laptops and tablets emit blue light, all of which have been found to disrupt your ability to enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Your body is naturally programmed to wake up with light, so put them down at least one hour before bed and you will feel the benefit.
The hormone melatonin plays a key role in promoting deep, restorative sleep and can protect the health of your brain as you get older.
Research has shown that reading your mobile device in bed is counter-productive to quality rest, making you feel more alert, less sleepy and far more likely to delay trying to go to sleep.
Reading a mobile screen before sleeping will cause you to feel more sleepy and groggy when you wake up in the morning.
People who read from a screen before bed regularly take much longer to fully “wake up” the following day, compared to those who read a printed book instead.