Spring brings with it lots of fresh changes – spring clean, April showers, reconsidering those New Year’s Resolutions we inevitably neglected – but one aspect of our lives all too often gets overlooked, and that’s sleep. Since Spring also heralds World Health Day, it’s the perfect opportunity to reassess both our physical and mental well-being.
It’s amazing how few people even realise that a big part of why they’re not feeling great or struggling to lose weight or constantly feeling stressed is because their sleep habits are really bad. A good night’s sleep every now and then just isn’t enough to catch up on months, if not years, of not only not enough sleep but bad quality sleep. Fewer more restful hours can be a lot better for you than 8 whole agitated ones.
Luckily, there are quite a few things you can easily do to almost immediately improve the quality of your sleep, starting with the bed and all the way through to your daily habits.
1. Get a new mattress
This is arguably the toughest point to change, since it’s not as straightforward as just ordering one on Amazon – or at least it shouldn’t be. If you’ve been struggling to get a decent night’s sleep for a long time, it’s very possible it’s because your mattress is all wrong for you. It could just be that the mattress is old, and if flipping it doesn’t have much improvement, then you’ll have to embrace change.
Everybody has their own preferences – some like a soft mattress, some a hard one, some like those memory foam situations. Whatever the case may be, you really want to have a lie down on a prospective new mattress and see if it genuinely feels right for you. If you have a chronic condition, such as from an old injury, then it’s not the worst idea to see a specialist who might advise you on the type of mattress that might be best suited for your needs.
2. Get new pillows
The mattress is just one part of the sleeping well equation. Pillows, or specifically, the wrong kind of pillows, can mess up not only your sleep but your bones and muscles as well. If your pillow doesn’t offer enough support, or is too hard, or just hugs your head wrong depending on your preferred sleeping position, you can do a lot of damage to your neck and shoulders.
If you’re consistently waking up with a sore neck, then you really ought to treat yourself to some new pillows – and just like with the mattress, try to pick a type that works best for you.
3. Turn off your screens
You’ve probably heard of this one already, but it really is incredibly important – that pesky blue light is no friend to rest. These days with so much of people’s work being in front of a computer, followed by a lot of our R&R coming from our gadgets, we spend an extraordinary amount of time looking at digital screens. While this generally takes an overall toll on our eyes, staring at a screen right before going to bed has a negative impact on your quality of sleep.
This can be a tough habit to break, if you like to watch your favourite show or check social media before going to sleep, but you’ll be amazed at how much more rested you feel when you turn all those screens off and just let yourself fall asleep in serene darkness. If you really get some comfort from having some background noise for your bedtime, or just really need a gadget to feel at ease, why not invest in a sound machine – you can fall asleep to the gentle sound of waves or rain – a much better option than zombie-watching the latest scandalous documentary.
With more and more people switching to working from home, depending on how much space is at your disposal, a lot of people wind up working in their bedrooms, just for the sake of convenience. While this may not be a problem in the short term, when you consistently use your bedroom as a place of work, it becomes difficult to then get a good night’s sleep in it.
This tends to happen subconsciously, but if you bring your work into your bedroom, then you start to associate all the stresses and anxiety that comes with work with your bedroom and maybe bed in particular. Your bedroom needs to be an environment where you can relax and unwind, so to the best of your ability, try to setup a workstation somewhere else. If that’s not possible, then see if you can rearrange the room a little, so there’s a distinct area for your work that’s both physically and emotionally separate from your bed.
5. Give your bedroom a bit of a spruce up
After a long day or week, chores can be a massive pain in the bum that we just don’t have the energy anymore. You got through work, you dealt with the kids, you cooked food and did the laundry. Maybe you even manage to squeeze a workout in there somewhere. After all that, you just want to fling your clothes off and collapse into bed.
Alas, this can lead to your bedroom becoming a bit of a messy, dilapidated environment, which really isn’t the best setup for getting some good quality sleep. Your bedroom should be inviting – you know that lovely feeling you get when you enter a hotel room and everything is neat and pristine? Yes, it takes a little energy, but the next time you have an hour or so over the weekend, why not give your bedroom some TLC.
Change your sheets – maybe even lay down your favourite ones, whether it’s a special occasion or not – do a bit of a tidy up, air your room out from all that stagnant air, get some clever storage solutions if you’re struggling to put everything away. Finally, it’s all about the little things. Plug in some mood lighting or light an aromatherapy candle. Turn your bedroom into a peaceful oasis!
Hopefully, with these tips you can revitalise your home and habits in a way that will transform your sleep and in so doing, make you feel happier, healthier and more productive!