Sleep tight like a baby

  • 10th Mar 20
Sleep tight like a baby

Throughout March it’s National Bed Month, which sounds like a terrific way to spend the next few weeks. However, sleep is not as easy as it sounds for some and trying to sleep like a baby takes research and effort. If you are having problems getting a good night’s rest, The Sleep Council is a great place to start to unravel the problem.

Health benefits

A good sleep has amazing properties that make you healthier and happier, and according to research can even add years to your life. Sleep allows time for the body to rest, repair and rebuild and a good night’s sleep will improve your concentration and converts your short-term memories into long-term memories. This helps you learn so when you wake, you can often see things more clearly, which may explain where the term ‘sleep on it’ comes from. Lack of sleep makes it more difficult to control your appetite, which might cause you to gain weight. There’s also evidence to say that a lack of sleep can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary heart disease. As well as keeping your immune system strong, a good night’s sleep will also take care of your emotional wellbeing, reduce your stress levels and also maintain good relationships.

Bed of dreams

In order to maximise your rest, it is important to have a bed that is as comfortable as possible. A high-quality mattress can be the difference between a good or bad night’s sleep and even if it looks OK, it may not be giving you the support that you need. A few things to consider which are indicators that it is time to upgrade are: is the mattress more than seven years old, has your sleep been affected in the last year and do you wake with stiffness or aches and pains? When buying a new mattress, there’s no substitute for lying down on it and testing it out – if you share your bed, make sure your partner is with you and does the same and lie in the position you normally sleep in. Don’t rush, what can feel wonderful in the first few minutes can actually feel uncomfortable after a while. The mattress should mould to the shape of your body while remaining supportive.

Pillow Talk

The cause of neck and shoulder pain can actually be the pillow rather than the mattress. A good pillow will hold your head in much the same way as if you were standing up so it is in the same alignment to your shoulders and spine. Pillows should ideally be replaced every two or three years or when you notice that they have become lumpy, discoloured or misshapen. There are a range of fillings to choose from including goosedown, duckdown, feather, fibre and visco-elastic.

Sleep training

It’s all too easy to develop bad habits when it comes to sleep, which can have detrimental effects on the quality of your rest. You may have trouble falling asleep or it may be that you wake several times in the night, whatever the issue, it is important to put good routines in place. Keeping regular hours will help so try and go to bed and wake up at the same time every morning and night. Natural light, preferably in the morning, helps to lift our mood and make us more alert so try and factor that into your routine. Even better if you can engage in daytime exercise. Be careful not to exercise too close to bedtime because that can actually make falling asleep even harder. Food and drink will also impact the quality of our sleep. Try to avoid caffeine from the late afternoon onwards and don’t go to bed too full, hungry or thirsty. Ensure the bedroom is at an ambient temperature, dark and quiet and put clocks away so if you are having problems falling asleep, you are not tempted to clock watch, which can increase anxiety.

Sound of silence

Although using electronics such as smart phones or iPads are generally not thought to be conducive to a good night’s sleep, some people find they need a little background noise to help them drift off. The Sleep Council have a number of ‘Nodcasts’ that can be downloaded free via their website at The soothing music and relaxing sounds are based on a survey of more than 2,000 people who were asked what would help them to de-stress and get to sleep. The top answers were the sounds of chirping birdsong, trickling rain, thunder and lightning, calming waves and whistling wind, which have been reproduced in a number of audio exerts.

Boudoir bedrooms

Transform your bedroom to create the best setting for a peaceful night’s sleep because this could be the cause for a restless night. Simply keeping it clean and tidy, blitzing your bedside table and moving the laundry basket out of sight can make a huge difference. Take TVs and computers out of the bedroom so you can’t be tempted to switch them on in the middle of the night. Your bedroom should not be an extension of the rest of the house so avoid working or eating from your bed. When considering your décor, choose soft, muted tones that will make you feel calm and touches such as photos, plants and ornaments will help you to feel more connected and peaceful. Essential oils such as lavender and germanium are naturally calming so can be used via a humidifier or burner. Just be aware that essential oils should not be used if you are pregnant.

Care for the air

Air quality impacts our sleep and bedrooms tend to have the poorest air in the home, due to the fact that we often keep the door closed and it can be one of the smaller rooms in the house or apartment. Don’t dry clothes in your bedroom because it will create too much moisture leading to high humidity levels that are likely to leave you feeling uncomfortably sticky and can promote the growth of mould. However, if the air is too dry, you will wake with a dry mouth and nose. To create the perfect balance, have air-filtering plants in your bedrooms such as aloe vera plants and peace lilies, which are particularly good air-cleaners. If your bedroom is prone to mould or dust mites or you have any associated allergies, an air-purifier can be beneficial to improve the air quality. However, one of the simplest ways of achieving cleaner air is to keep a window open as much as possible to allow fresh air to circulate.

Hot stuff

Too hot, too cold? Getting the right temperature is a must if you want a good night’s sleep. A drop in body temperature naturally helps to send you to sleep so going from a warm bath to a cooler bedroom will have the desired effect. If you feel the chill at night, remember that around 80% of body heat escapes through a quilt so keep extra blankets at hand to layer up. If you get too hot, sheets and blankets instead of a duvet will help to regulate your body temperature. A spring mattress circulates air, which can prevent you from feeling too hot during the night too.


Tips to sleep tight

  • Keep regular bedtime patterns.
  • Exercise and get your body moving.
  • Get out in the daylight.
  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol.
  • Don’t go to bed feeling too full.
  • Keep a diary to write away any worries.
  • Turn the heating off but use a hot water bottle if you feel cold.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Turn off the tech.



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