Are you struggling to fall into the deep sleep of your dreams? Well, it may have something to do with your bed linen, pyjama's, night time tunes or even your bed! Here are the expert tips for achieving supreme sleep!
You’ve worked hard all day and well into the evening; you’re tired; shattered; knackered. So why can’t you sleep? The Sleep Coach, Cheryl Fingleson, tells us that sometimes, the interior you slumber within can hold the clues to your restless sleeping patterns.
It’s imperative to maintain an even body temperature during sleep, so there are certain fibres that can keep you as warm and cool as needed. “Percale is a plain, matte weave that has a crisp, cool feel, so it may be sensible for people who tend to get overheated when they sleep,” Cheryl says. “Sateen is slightly heavier and very soft, with a shimmery smooth finish that’s almost satiny hence the name” she continues. Cheryl recommends that if you’re not sure which fabric you prefer to sleep in, look for swatches on display for a touch test.
A cotton-polyester blend, often marketed as ‘easy care,’ is also great as it can withstand frequent washings, she explains. Opt for one with a 90/10 blend of cotton-polyester as “getting a mix that is above 30 percent synthetic won’t feel great and could make the sleeper sweat,” she notes. “The safest option is to choose 100% cotton sheets. They are soft, breathable, low maintenance and easy to wash.”
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Being strategic about what your sleep attire is made of can help regulate your body temperature at night, promoting a better night’s sleep says Cheryl. “Personally sleeping in natural, breathable fabrics is always my preferred choice,” she says. Go for an all-natural fabric in nightwear that is lightweight and doesn’t irritate the skin. “If you are a sweater when it’s hot, this will ensure you keep dry and comfortable,” Cheryl explains. “However, cotton isn’t ideal for the cooler months as it does a poor job of insulating.”
Silk, on the other hand, is a magical thermo regulator. “It can keep you warm when you’re cold and cool when you’re hot.” Keep in mind that silk is costly and can require dry-cleaning, Cheryl points out. It can also be slippery, and may move around while you sleep or if you sleep with satin sheets, you may find yourself sliding off the bed!
In the cooler months, a budget-friendly option is a pair of flannelette pyjamas. “The material is comfortable and provides warmth and breathability, so it can help you stay toasty warm without overheating,” she adds.
“One must not forget the easiest option of sleeping in the raw,” Cheryl points out. “There are quite a few health benefits in doing this. Sleeping coolly and well helps keep the stress hormone, cortisol in check which is a good thing. High cortisol levels can trigger an increase in insulin and decrease fat-burning and appetite-controlling hormones. Something we’d rather not deal with.”
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“These days our bedroom can be full of lights, from glowing computer monitors and clock radios to any number of blinking electronic devices,” Cheryl points out. “The problem is that chronic exposure to light at night leads to a variety of health problems.”
In order to understand just why light at night is bad, we need to consider human evolution. “Prior to the end of the Stone Age, humans were exposed to two different kinds of natural light responsible for regulating circadian rhythm. During the day there was the sun, while at night there was the moon and the stars, and perhaps the light from campfires. The binary day/night pattern was unrelenting, and so our biological programming followed suit.”
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With regards to music, opt for calming music and avoid songs with lyrics that keep your mind active or thumping bass lines that keep your toes tapping. “Listening to soft, mellow music may help you get to dreamland faster,” she says, suggesting genres such as classical, folk and smooth jazz as smart choices.
There are also some good meditation options to choose from if you find your mind drifting into a pit of worrisome thoughts. Autogenic Relaxation and Guided Visualization are techniques that will quiet your mind and relax your body.
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If your partner is giving you the pips when it comes to sleeping (either due to snoring, wriggling, reading or sleepwalking), Cheryl notes that in her experience it is not uncommon for some couples to have separate bedrooms. “They may go to one bedroom to watch TV, read or have sex and then go to sleep in their respective bedrooms,” she explains. If this isn’t an option in your home you could also try to train a person to sleep on their side or stomach, which may help prevent snoring. “At the end of the day it’s important to look at the big picture and the health of your partner and that everyone is having adequate and good sleep however which way it works.”
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If all else fails in the quest for a fuller sleep, check what’s going on in the kitchen rather than the bedroom.” There are of course other known factors that can contribute to a poor night’s sleep and exacerbate the snoring problem, namely large meals before bedtime meals or the excessive consumption of alcohol.”
Are you getting a good night’s sleep? What are your tips for improved shut-eye?