A Definitive Guide To A Good Night’s Sleep
How well you’ve slept the night prior is enough to make or break you, and a crappy sleep more often than not leaves us feeling grumpy, fatigued and overall, super unproductive.
Despite shoddy sleep leaving us feeling like death, it’s apparent that inadequate sleep (and its daytime consequences) is very common among Australian adults, affecting between 33% and 45% of us, according to a 2016 report conducted by The University of Adelaide for the Sleep Health Foundation.
So why aren’t our sleeping patterns as healthy as they should be?
Well, that depends on the individual. Medical sleep conditions are common among Aussie adults, with the report claiming 8% of us are diagnosed with sleep apnea, 20% are routinely affected by significant insomnia, and 18% experience restless legs, which keep us awake at night.
These circumstances are a little more difficult to combat, and will require a trip to your GP. The rest of us, however, are prone to forming our own bad habits, which affect our sleep cycle on the daily.
More than a quarter of adults (26%) use the internet most or every night of the week just before bed, and report frequent sleep difficulties which impair their productivity the next day. Similarly, 16% of working adults do work just before bed time and as a result, have frequent sleep difficulties or daytime sleep-related symptoms.
No problem: just have a coffee and shake it off, right?
Well, it seems that your daily coffee fix mightn’t be cutting it, with these sleep problems persistently and majorly affecting work performance.
According to the Sleep Health Foundation’s reports, every month 17% of Aussie adults chuck a sickie because they were too tired, 29% report making errors at work due to sleepiness and a staggering 17% of employees reported that they have flat out fallen asleep on the job.
Unless you want to make a proper fool out of yourself and fall asleep at work, we suggest you read on for some tips on getting a good night’s sleep.
#1 Stick to a cycle
The best way to ensure a good night’s sleep is to make it a routine. This means attempting to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every single day.
It’ll help set your body’s internal clock, and improve the quality of the sleep you’re getting. The best way of setting a sleep cycle is to pick a time to go to bed when you normally feel tired – deciding to suddenly become nocturnal may prove a little difficult.
If you want to maximise the benefits of your new sleep cycle it might mean sacrificing weekend sleep ins, but if that means you’ve got more energy throughout the week, it will be totally worth it.
#2 Nap responsibly
Ensuring a good night’s sleep might mean sacrificing the things we love most, and in my case, that’s a good nap. Napping is a bit of a gamble; you’ll either wake up in a sweaty panic not knowing what day it is, or super well rested and feeling great.
Despite how you feel when you wake up, napping during the day more often than not results in difficulty falling asleep at night and consequently feeling shitty the next day.
It’s important to listen to your body, but when it says you should have a four-hour nap at 6pm on a Thursday, it might pay to ignore that call.
#3 Avoid using devices
As mentioned above, browsing the internet at night before bed plays a massive role in how well we sleep at night. Easiest solution? Put down your phone.
You’ve probably heard by now that the blue light emitted by our devices is the route of all evil, and stimulates our brain way longer than it should.
Forbes reported that research from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston tested the effects of reading from an iPad at night as opposed to a paper book before bed by asking participants to read for four hours before bed for five nights.
People who used the iPad reportedly felt less tired before bed, experienced more disrupted sleep and produced less of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
#4 Exhaust yourself
One of the best ways to ensure a good night’s sleep is to be tired right? Physically exhausting yourself is one way of doing this. By stimulating your muscles while working out, they relax and in turn make you more relaxed and susceptible to falling asleep quicker.
It’s important you exercise at the right time though.
Exercise speeds up your metabolism, elevates body temperature and stimulates hormones. This isn’t an issue if you’re working out in the morning or afternoon, but too close to bed can actually interfere with your sleep. It’s best to finish your work out at least three hours before bedtime.
Being alone with your thoughts can keep you up at night, so it’s important to clear your head and reach a stage of relaxation before hitting the hay.
One way to reach this state quicker (which I personally swear by) is to meditate. If you don’t know how to we have a beginner’s guide to get you started.
There are plenty of guided meditations available online, and some which are totally tailored to immersing you into a good night’s sleep.
Bradley is a writer from Newcastle who enjoys travel, Tina Fey and is a connoisseur of cheap red wine.