The best fuel to keep energised during the day is without a doubt, a good night’s rest. But some of our favourite habits like sleeping in and staying up late can have a bad effect on the quality of sleep.
Not to be confused with sleep quantity, sleep quality is all about how restful that shut eye is. Generally, ‘quality sleep’ means that you fall asleep in half an hour or less, and sleep peacefully throughout the night – waking up no more than once.
A change in your life rhythm and a stressful lifestyle play a major role in disturbing your sleep quality. Even though high-quality sleep might seem like an impossible ask for some (especially if you have young children or work shifts), there are some natural ways to improve your sleep habits and establish a functioning sleep routine.
5 of the best ways to boost your sleep quality
#1 – Breathe deeply
When your body feels relaxed, your brain will shut down with ease. Mindfully breathing in and out is a great way to relax your muscles and slow down your heart rate.
If you feel anxious when you’re in bed, try taking four seconds to breathe in and three to breathe out. Repeat this action several times until you convince your brain and chest that you’re ready to move to the next stage of sleep. And if you suffer from conditions like sleep apnea, use devices like CPAP machine, to help you sleep.
#2 – Keep moving
If you have a busy mind during the day, it’s all too common to be flooded with thoughts and scenarios in your head when you get to bed. If you go to bed and you’re not tired, it’s highly unlikely that you will fall asleep easily.
You don’t need to run for two hours or overdo it in the gym, getting some exercise or even walking home from work is enough to tire your body out to get you into the sleeping mode immediately after you close your eyes.
Otherwise, take a walk or go for a light jog to make yourself more tired so you can fall asleep faster. Instead of waking up in the middle of the night, wake up on your own when you feel well-rested!
#3 – Create with your mind
The power of imagination is very strong, especially when you’re trying to sleep. Rather than force the need for sleep, create some beautiful, calming pictures in your head – or try visualising relaxing places or reliving some happy past memories. Sometimes it’s beneficial to think positively about your future or imagine some upcoming events.
Whatever you do, do NOT put pressure on your brain to speed up the sleeping process as it’s likely to have the opposite effect.
#4 – What to wear?
Keeping comfortable, and at the right temperature, is key to getting a quality night’s rest. Avoid tight clothes and opt for breathable pyjamas made from natural materials such as cotton or linen instead. These are easy to move in and won’t cause you to sweat excessively.
Avoid socks too – these cause your body temperature to rise dramatically, irritate your skin, and fall off – all likely causes of waking you up during the night.
#5 – Comfort is key
First of all, make sure that your bed and pillow are firm enough and support your spine. For bedding, such as pillowcases and sheets, one of the most comfortable materials is silk. Not only do silk sheets and pillowcases stop your face from getting dry and wrinkled, they lower your body temperature and fight body heat.
For the utmost comfort, wash pillowcases and sheets often, especially if you have allergies or oily skin. Let’s face it, there’s nothing better than getting into a bed that’s freshly made with clean, crisp sheets.