Top tips for a peaceful night’s sleep

Top tips for a peaceful night’s sleep

Author: Philippa Thompson

Sleep is vital to maintaining physical and cognitive health. Lack of sleep makes us feel sluggish and lethargic, potentially leading to accidents and, in turn, injuries. However, insufficient sleep doesn't just affect how we feel the next day; it can also negatively affect physical health, including increasing the risk for diabetes. Studies have shown reduced sleep is a risk factor for raised blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. What’s more, just one night of sleep deprivation can have an impact.

How do our sleep patterns change as we age?

As we get older, our sleep patterns change. We tend to sleep lighter and for less time; it’s common to wake more often through the night due to being more sensitive to noise and temperature changes.

However, by following sleep hygiene routines, creating a sleep-friendly environment and having a good diet, it’s possible to get enough quality sleep to keep us healthy and feel fully rested during the day.

Here are five tips to help you enjoy a more peaceful night’s sleep.

1. Keep your sleep patterns regular

Try to go to bed and get up at roughly the same time each day. Ideally, you should aim for 7 - 8 hours of sleep every night. Avoid weekend lay-ins and later nights to help regulate your body clock.

2. Don’t lie in bed if you can’t sleep

If you struggle to fall asleep or find it challenging to get back to sleep if you wake in the night, only lie in your bed for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, get up and go to a different room. Find a relaxing activity like reading or listening to the radio, but avoid tasks that will wake you up too much (for example, housework or watching TV).

After 20 minutes, go back to bed and try to fall asleep. If you can’t, repeat the process. This method is used to treat insomnia. It works on the same premise as pavlovian conditioning.

3. Be active throughout the day

Even if you feel tired, it is essential to remain active throughout the day. This could mean some form of exercise, simply pottering around the garden or walking to the local corner shop. Exerting energy throughout the day means you will tire yourself out by bedtime.

4. Create a nighttime routine and stick to it

Having a nighttime routine triggers your brain to know it is bedtime.

This routine will be personal to you so take some time to figure out what works best for you. For example, you could read a book, have a bath, do some gentle stretching or listen to music.

Avoid looking at your phone for at least 20 minutes before going to bed. The LED blue light from digital screens can prevent melatonin, the sleep hormone, from being released, interfering with sleep patterns.

Avoid eating or drinking too late. Eating a heavy meal late at night can make it harder for you to fall asleep. A good rule of thumb is to avoid eating a meal 3 hours before bed. It’s also good to avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening as both affect sleep patterns and quality.

5. Turn your bedroom into a sleep haven

Your bedroom needs to be a calm and relaxing environment to help you drift off to sleep.

Creating a cosy environment will help you fall asleep and ultimately stay asleep. A few things to consider are:

  • Temperature
  • Bedding
  • Light
  • Sound

Ensure your temperature in your room is perfect for sleep, and if your room is too light or noisy, use aids such as earplugs or sleep masks.

By creating a space with optimal conditions for sleep, you should enjoy a whole night’s sleep and wake feeling rested the following day.

Ask for help

If you are at all worried about not getting enough sleep, it is important you seek professional advice. Your GP is an excellent place to start as they will investigate if there are other underlying causes to be addressed. They can also signpost you to other sources of support and advice.

At The Dower House, we believe it’s vital to support residents with healthy sleep habits. Our rooms are designed for optimal sleep conditions, and we encourage residents to stay active throughout the day with regular exercise classes or simply walking through the garden.

If you would like to know more about life at The Dower House, please download our brochure or contact one of the team by calling 01962 882848

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