Improving my quality of sleep is high up on my list of ‘things that will make my life better’. In fact, it’s in position number two – just below winning the lottery.
Realistically, I probably have a better shot at getting a decent forty winks than hitting the jackpot.
However, in this fast-paced day and age, are we able to turn to gadgets to induce a technological torpor? Are the methods our grannies taught us still worth their weight in gold?
The irony that we (as a society) put most of the blame for our sleep problems down to the over use of devices, technology and a lack of physical activity is not lost on me. However, here are a few of the more common reasons for a bad night’s sleep and what you can try to relieve them.
With that in mind, maybe the first question to ask is what’s your sleep problem?
Are you waking because you’re too hot? Does the slightest noise disturb you? You might even have trouble getting to sleep in the first place with things on your mind, a bad bedtime routine or maybe you’re just uncomfortable and unable to settle.
By pinpointing the issues, you’ll be able to take a glance at these devices and sleep aids (alongside granny’s remedies?) and decide if you think they might help to improve your sleep.
If you love the cold side of the pillow then this pillow claims to give you that fresh, cooling feeling throughout the night: the Hyde and sleep Smart Pillow takes technology developed for astronauts and combines it with our favourite bedtime staple. The fibres of the pillow’s cover know when you’re hot or cold and act accordingly to rectify the situation. Pretty nifty! www.hydeandsleep.com, £49.99
For cool lovers, you can also help yourself by investing in some eco-friendly bamboo sheets. Bamboo is breathable, soft and up to the job. Try them as an alternative to cotton and see how you feel.
Too much device usage
The blue light given off from our mobile phones and tablets is well documented as keeping our grey matter firing on all four pistons way past our bedtime!
Check your phone settings.
A ‘blue light filter’ mode can often be activated in the evenings (or left on like mine!). Your phone might have one.
It’s part of our lifestyle to give our smart phones one last glance before we close our eyes and often we use our phones for morning alarms so we keep them close by.
We’ve all heard that we should stop using any of our devices at least one hour before bed, so why on earth don’t we?
Granny’s advice would be to read a book for an hour before bed. If you can’t bear it then check out these blue light filter glasses. New York Media’s article investigates whether they actually do anything here:
Have a read and if you want me, I will be tucked up in my bed with a good book because my problem is that I have a …
Bad Bedtime Routine
In fact, I have zero routine at all. I don’t allow myself time to wind down after a busy day, I don’t actively promote relaxation or any kind of environment that is conducive to catching some serious zeds. How about you?
To see if a healthy bedtime routine can solve your sleep pattern try these apps as listed by Buzzfeed. There’s a selection of paid apps and free alternatives that offer meditation and soothing music to those that measure your sleep quality and analyse the results. See Buzzfeed’s Apps to Help you Sleep for more details.
Sharing a bed with a snorer is a trauma that many of us suffer through. Rescue your slumber and sanity by using a clever device called a ‘Bumper Belt’. You can attach it to your waist and it will stop you to rolling on to your back.
A very low-tech, budget friendly version of this, is to attach or sew a small pocket into the back of the offender’s PJ’s top and place a tennis ball inside it.
Cheaper than a divorce and less painful for your loved one than all the little kicks you are delivering during the night to get them to STOP SNORING!
Heavy snorers may be suffering from a condition called sleep apnoea. In lay man’s terms – you may be stopping breathing in your sleep, causing you to wake with a jolt. Your GP can offer help and advice on this subject.
You’ve heard the recommendations that you should change your mattress every 8 years. If you are due a new mattress, get one. You’ll be surprised how much a new mattress can help aid a restful nights’ sleep. Some are packed with sleep technology which is bound to improve your slumber.
(As long as you’re not sharing it with a snorer and you have a good supply of tennis balls, that is!).
The Headboard Workshop offers three superb mattresses which they consider the best value for your buck. The comfortable Jersey Mattress, the best-selling Herm Mattress available in two tensions, and the Sark Mattress – described as ‘the Rolls Royce of Mattresses’ by Euan, one of The Headboard Workshop’s founding directors. (Side note: Euan sleeps on a Sark mattress. If that isn’t an endorsement, I don’t know what is!).
Try background ‘white noise’ in your room all night if you wake at the drop of a pin.
A simple sleep technology like playing the sound of falling rain, or television static seem to be reported as winners. Popular white noise apps include “White Noise Lite’, reviewed by one of its users as a ‘Life saver’. Another goes on to rave about how this app worked as a sleep device for insomnia. Another says it helped him fall asleep despite having tinnitus in one ear.
And if all else fails – a warm milky drink. Cut out caffeine. Make sure you’re getting enough daily fresh air and exercise … and my personal favourite – never go to bed angry. (Thanks, Granny).