Top tips for helping keep your sleep resolutions

·3-min read

Along with eating better and going to the gym more, getting more sleep tends to be at the top of many people's New Year's resolutions.

But with the fast pace of modern life, getting enough shuteye each night is often easier said than done. To help you on your way to a better snooze, we spoke to Alison Jones, sleep expert at leading mattress brand Sealy UK, for her top tips.

Reset your routine

While a lie-in on the weekend can be lovely, it can actually be detrimental to sleep patterns.

"By allowing ourselves a later bedtime, and in turn a later wake-up time on the weekends, our bodies are actually experiencing the same impact as they would from jet lag," she explained. "While you might be tempted to catch up on lost sleep from the week, this can play havoc with your body's circadian rhythm - the internal 'clock' which controls your energy levels. A regular bedtime, on the other hand, will signal to your body that it's time to feel tired, meaning you'll be more likely to drop off to sleep no matter the day of the week."

Reduce light pollution

Light is a key influencer in your natural body clock, which is why it's important to limit the amount you're exposed to before bedtime.

"Melatonin, the hormone responsible for controlling our body clock, is produced in the brain at night, meaning exposure to light before bed can have a negative impact on our sleep by suppressing its production and preventing us from feeling tired," the expert shared. "The best way to avoid this is to keep the lights dimmed in your home in the hours before bedtime, and to limit the amount of blue light you're exposed to from screens such as TV and mobiles for around 30 minutes before you plan to sleep."

Keep a sleep journal

A sleep diary is a great way to help you identify what factors in your life are helping and hindering your slumber.

"Make a note of everything from your sleep times and what wakes you up during the night, to the food you've eaten, your amount of screen time, and your day's activity," said Alison. "After keeping a record of your sleep for a month, you'll be able to see any trends on things during the day that are impacting you at night."

Eat a balanced diet

Consuming plenty of fruit and veggies can also be instrumental in getting a better quality of sleep.

"Make sure you're eating and drinking the right stuff to ensure good quality slumber. Foods high in magnesium, such as avocado, bananas and almonds, could be exactly what you need to drift off into a deep sleep. This is because magnesium decreases levels of cortisol, the 'stress hormone', meaning that the more avocado we eat, the better we sleep!" she stated.

Invest in your bed

During the winter months, there is nothing better than burrowing into a cosy and, more importantly, comfortable, bed.

"To create the perfect bed that hugs you back as you drift off to sleep, invest in a mattress that is tailored to your needs and made with quality materials," she insisted. "We spend roughly a third of our lives asleep, but replacing our mattress, pillows and duvets can often fall to the wayside."

Declutter your bedroom

Take a leaf out of Marie Kondo's book and only have items that "spark joy" in your sleep space.

"If you're already struggling to drop off to sleep at night, a cluttered bedroom is going to do you no favours. While a comfy and supportive mattress is crucial to helping you rest, the environment in which you sleep also plays a huge part in the quality of your slumber," Alison added.

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