lifestyle n

We’ve all been there – watching your clock rolling on while you count down the minutes or hours until you must get up, all the while getting more and more frustrated. The harder you try, the more difficult it can be to fall asleep. In fact, a 2016 survey by the Sleep Health Foundation  has found 33–45% of Australian adults are struggling with inadequate sleep.

The average reported sleep time is 7 hours, although 12% sleep less than 5.5 hours a night.

A poor night’s sleep can affect you in many ways: 

  • Making irrational decisions
  • Low concentration and memory
  • Decreased reaction times
  • Irritability
  • Increased health risks such as obesity and heart disease

Getting an adequate amount of sleep seems like an impossible task, so what can you do to make it easier?

Create a routine

Your bedtime routine starts during the day. Make sure you tire your body with exercise, eat right, and limit your intake of caffeine before bed. Start calming yourself in the afternoon by listening to relaxing music and trying to unwind early. Try to develop a sleep time you can maintain all week and try to wake up at the same time, even on weekends. Avoid napping during the day and make your bedroom your place of rest. Creating a daily schedule will signal to your brain that your body is preparing for bed.

Block out the noise and light

Minimising outside influences on your sleep routine is paramount to ensuring a good night’s rest. If you live near a main road, or the sound of a bird singing in the morning wakes you, invest in some good quality ear plugs. This simple, low-cost solution could mean you maintain your sleep for a full 7-8 hours. If you’re having more issues falling asleep in the evenings, you can download white-noise apps that will recreate the sound of thunderstorms or rain on a window.

Switch off your devices

A quarter of all adults (26%) who use the internet just before bed have reported to suffer frequent sleep difficulties or daytime impairments. Looking at our screens keeps our brain alert long after bedtime so switching off an hour or two before bedtime will increase the chance of a restful sleep.

If you just can’t seem to disconnect, change your phone’s settings so the backlight on your screen automatically changes to ‘sleep mode’ at bedtime. This ensures you’re not staring into the bright blue light that would otherwise inhibit sleep.

Make the most of your mattress

Did you know the life expectancy of your mattress varies greatly depending on type of mattress you own? There’s no ‘one’ rule for when you should change them, but there are some ways to make them last longer.

  • Use a mattress protector to protect against spills, dust, and debris
  • Rotate the mattress every 3 to 6 months to promote even wear. You could even flip it if it’s two-sided
  • Open your windows regularly for better ventilation, which can reduce dust and moisture build-up
  • Keep pets off the bed to reduce the risk of damage from claws and chewing
  • Remove sheets and mattress covers occasionally to air out your mattress

Nearly all of us have the occasional sleepless night, but if you often have trouble sleeping and these tips aren’t working, consult a healthcare professional. Identifying and treating any underlying causes can help you get that restful sleep.

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