Independent sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley, who recently spoke to the Daily Mail, reveals nine ways to make the most of your sleep.
Step 1: Prioritise
Dr Stanley says that too many people fail to see the importance of sleep. Instead, they are too distracted by Netflix or browsing the internet.
They key is to believe that sleep is important and to make time for it. Dr Stanley says, ‘unless you actually prioritise getting a good night’s sleep, it’s not going to happen.’
Step 2: Your bedroom is for sleeping, not for technology
'When you go into your bedroom it should be with the intention of sleeping’, Dr Stanley says, ‘and you should associate it only with sleeping.’
‘It should not be your office, gym, cinema, or games room’ he added, ‘no phones, computers, or TV.’
His advice is to watch TV in the lounge room until your tired enough to go to bed and sleep or if you must reply to emails, do so before to get into bed.
Step 3: Take some time to wind down
In our busy, sometimes stressful lives, we often forget to take some ‘me’ time or to do something that helps us to relax. Dr Stanley says that 45 minutes each and every night is important in getting a better night’s sleep.
'Different things work for different people,' says Dr Stanley. 'For some, it’s reading a book, or some yoga, chamomile tea, or mindfulness. Find something that you can do for 45 minutes before bed that switches you off and puts your mind into a nice happy place.'
Step 4: Switch off and drift off
In order to fall asleep, our bodies and minds must be in a calm and relaxed state. Hence the importance of winding down. Dr Stanley says that a quiet mind is essential in getting a good sleep and worry, stress and anger will only keep you awake.
Step 5: Consider yourself and upsize
‘Up to 50 per cent of your sleep disturbance is caused by your bed partner,' says Dr Stanley.
His advice is to opt for a larger, sturdier bed which gives each of you more room and eliminates the risk of waking up with every small movement your partner makes.
Step 6: Eat clean, sleep clean
Making small and realistic dietary changes can have a huge impact on your sleeping habits.
Ensuring you are drinking at least 2L of water a day is essential but not too much before you go to bed as you’ll need to wake to go to the bathroom, causing a disturbance in your sleep rhythms.
Limiting your caffeine intake and increasing your fruit and veg intake will also help you sleep better at night.
Step 7: Think of a narrative
To avoid overthinking real life issues, Dr Stanley says, ‘think about a story with a narrative, but one that is of no consequence.’
Always remember to think of a narrative that will not lead to think about any real life concerns.
Step 8: Don’t force it
'The harder you try to fall asleep, the less likely you are to do it.’ Dr Stanley says, ‘You get frustrated, the bed gets uncomfortable, and that’s not the frame of mind you need to fall back to sleep.’
He suggests to instead get up and do something until you are relaxed enough to fall asleep with ease. Listen to the radio, read a book, make a cup of tea. So whatever makes you relax.
Step 9: Eat right and at the right time
Eating a healthy, balanced diet seems obvious but eating at least four hours before going to sleep may not be so obvious.
'In order to get a good night sleep you need to lose one degree of body temperature,' says Dr Stanley. 'If you have a big, highly calorific meal, or too much alcohol at night, you have to process that – and at a time that the body really doesn’t want to be doing that. You are going to burn those calories, which makes losing that one degree much more difficult, which will then make you feel restless.'