How To Adult: Make A Great Night’s Sleep A Regular Thing

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Sleep is good. Sleep is very, very good. It repairs our body, cements new memories and information, cleans house, is critical for our overall health and wellbeing – and this isn’t even the best part (which is dreaming, by the way). Sleeping impacts all other areas of our lives, yet despite the myriad benefits, a lot of us struggle to get a good night’s kip. So what can we do?

We’ve done some research and pulled together five ways you can start to become one of those people who wake up refreshed.

#1 Create a sanctuary

It’s important that when you enter your bedroom, you feel relaxed and calm. There are a few ways you can do this: have it clean and clutter-free; keep it cool and dark (which are optimal conditions for sleeping); use calming colours like whites, creams, and blues; and if you really want to design an oasis, the addition of air cleaning plants like Aloe Vera and Snake Plant or soothing flowers like lavender will help lull you into slumber. Bright lighting also works against you, so low-watt yellow toned lamps are a win.

#2 Get a sleep routine

This is probably the most important part of working towards your sleep goals. People refer to your ‘body clock’ for waking, but it also works for going to sleep. You can literally train your body to wind down naturally by going to bed at a similar time each evening, making it easier to fall asleep.

#3 Stop scrolling

We know you’ve heard this one a million times – that your phone’s blue light messes with your brain, telling it to stay awake. Even if you pop it on a yellow light setting timer for the evening, lying in bed and being mentally active keeps you stimulated, making it difficult to fall asleep. Pop your phone on Aeroplane Mode or Do Not Distrub during the night, or better yet, get the Sleep Cycle app, which analyses your sleep and wakes you in your lightest sleep phase (so the transition to waking life isn’t so harsh).

#4 Only use your bed for sleep, rest and sex

This one might sound obvious, but how many times have you decided to work from your bed, study in your bed, achieve life goals in your bed? You might go there because it makes you feel calm, but what you’ll do by working or studying from this calm space is eventually shift that association to one of feeling alert/stressed/awake. Not good.

#5 Exercise a few times a week

Studies found people sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. This doesn’t mean super intense exercise either, it could include a yoga class or brisk walking.

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Sonia is the editor of The Cusp.