Sleep is essential for everybody. It is something that our bodies need to maintain a healthy hormone balance, brain function and overall wellbeing. When we have a poor night’s sleep, we notice how it affects both our body and mind. Research has shown that poor quality sleep has negative effects on our hormones, brain function, and weight gain, along with many other symptoms.
Having a good night’s sleep can sometimes feel like a challenge and almost impossible if you’ve had several days or weeks of restless sleeping. In this article, we’re sharing some of our best tips on how to get a great night’s sleep to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day.
How to Break a Bad Sleep Cycle
When it comes to breaking the cycle of bad sleeping, there are a few ways to help reset your sleep patterns.
Exercise is one of the best ways to help promote healthy sleep patterns. Moderate exercise in adults has been proven to decrease sleep onset – the time it takes to fall to sleep. A poll from the National Sleep Foundation found that people who completed vigorous, moderate, and even light exercise reportedly had a significantly better night’s sleep, compared with those who completed no activity.
For those with assistive needs or limited mobility, completing 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise is not always an easy option. However, by just slightly increasing your movements or activity level, you will increase your likelihood of a better night’s sleep. Whether it’s a short walk and getting out in the fresh air, stretching, or low-impact swimming can help re-energise your body. Doing any kind of physical activity can feel daunting if you’re by yourself, so exercising with a group or community, or even simply a friend can help you feel motivated and at ease.
For the elderly, exercise is just as important for restful sleep and maintaining muscle tissue and balance. There are lots of exercise ideas available online. One example is the Edith Cowan University, “Five Simple Exercises that Seniors can do from Home,” which shows some simple and easy ways to move your body.
2. Create a Relaxing Environment
A relaxing environment to fall asleep in can have a dramatic effect on whether you have a good or bad sleep. A calm environment will help to minimise stress, and thereby reduce your adrenalin and cortisol levels so that you can relax more effectively. Ways to do this include:
- Diffusing essential oils like lavender and bergamot orange, which help to relax the body.
- Drinking a soothing tea like chamomile or a specific sleep blend.
- Calming, sensory items like a weighted blanket, pillows or stuffed animals can help relax.
- Making sure your space is cool, quiet, and dark. Wearing a sleep mask, earplugs, and putting on the air conditioner or fan can promote better sleep for many.
3. Reduce Blue Light Exposure Before Bedtime
Reducing your blue light exposure can help significantly when it comes to ensuring better sleep. Blue light is the kind of artificial light released by our phones and computers. It stimulates our eyes and our brain by boosting our alertness. Blue light is not a bad thing, however, it can be very stimulating at night-time and before bed, as it disrupts your body’s natural circadian rhythms, thereby reducing your melatonin levels which help you to relax and sleep.
Reducing your blue light exposure before bed, around two hours before you’re planning on your head hitting the pillow, is around when you should log off all electronic devices. This will better help the body and mind relax and increase your chances of a restful, deep sleep.
4. Relax the Mind
With all the stimulants and information we put our minds through every day, it’s little wonder that it's sometimes a struggle to get to sleep and stay asleep. Relaxing and having a calm mind is a way that will help your body better get to sleep. Some ways include:
- Read a book. Reading has been shown to reduce stress, help the body shut down, and is a great way for your brain to switch off. Reading just 10 minutes before bed can significantly help reduce stress.
- If you’re not a reader, listening to some calming, instrumental music before bed can help relax the mind as well.
- Journaling can also be a great way to unwind after a long day. One study found that journaling before bed was extremely helpful in reducing worry and stress, and thereby increasing the quality of sleep.
5. Don’t Drink Right Before Bedtime
We’ve all been there – waking up in the night needing to use the bathroom. Everything feels disjointed and foggy, and then waking up in the morning is just as terrible. When it comes to breaking the cycle of poor sleep, refraining from drinking before bed can help tremendously.
If you can, try to stop having any water two hours before bed and make sure to go to the bathroom just before you plan on going to sleep. This will help to ensure that you don’t need to wake up in the middle of the night and disturb your sleep.
Our Top 5 Assistive Sleep Products
Sometimes, getting a good night’s sleep might require a little help. We’ve selected some of our favourite sleeping necessities to help you relax and unwind for a long and restful sleep.
1. Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets are a great way of reducing stress and feelings of worry. They’re designed to give weighted pressure to the user, initiating a ‘hugging’ feeling and helps you to feel calm and secure.
This combined with the soft and luxurious texture of the blanket adds that extra special feeling of peacefulness. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, then trying a weighted blanket might help you to feel calmer before falling asleep.
2. Sensory Compression Sheets
Sensory Compression Sheets are another great way to relax the body and the mind. Working in a similar way to weighted blankets, a sensory compression sheet crafted from high grade, super stretch spandex provides deep pressure and cocoon-like comfort.
The Sensory sheets by Neptune Blanket are particularly well designed, as they have been designed to slip over the mattress like a sock, meaning that you get a strong sensory experience and stay cool all night.
3. Reusable Bed Pads
For many people, sleeping through the night can cause a lot of unwanted stress, especially if you have pelvic floor or bladder issues, and cannot control your regular body function while asleep. Sleeping through the night is super important for everybody’s health and wellbeing, so having the peace of mind to sleep, regardless of these conditions, is essential.
Reusable Bed Pads are an affordable and easy way to combat stress before sleep. They are waterproof and highly absorbent, so you can sleep throughout the night unbothered by any excess moisture. Some bed pads, like the Conni Reusable Bed Pads, have been designed to be tuck under each side of the bed, meaning that the bed pad won’t move or shift during the night.
4. Adjustable beds
For people with assistive needs who need help navigating in and out of their bed, or for people with back or spinal problems, regular mattresses can cause a lot of discomfort. Adjustable beds are a great solution for those that require assistance or have significant back issues.
The beds are controlled by a remote, meaning that no manual lifting is required. Having an adjustable bed also gives the user extra independence to get up and out of their bed without requiring extra assistance, which can add to their comfort levels and freedom to move about.
Adjustable beds also allow the user to customise their sleep experience. If you don’t feel comfortable lying flat or would prefer to be in a somewhat seated position, this bed accommodates all types of sleepers, making it the perfect sleep companion.
5. CPAP Machines
Sleep Apnoea is a sleeping disorder in which breathing during the night stops and starts. It is caused by your airways being blocked by throat muscles relaxing, and sometimes by your brain not sending proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. Excessive and loud snoring is also another way to tell if someone has sleep apnoea, as the two usually go hand in hand.
It can be very stressful for people who have the disorder, as sleep is easily disrupted, and sufferers wake up tired and far from refreshed. A continuous positive airways pressure or CPAP machine is a device that increases the air pressure in your throat so that your airways won’t collapse while you sleep. It helps to maintain healthy sleeping patterns and uninterrupted sleep during the night.
It is always important to speak to your doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms like insomnia, sleep deprivation, snoring, etc. They will be able to suggest and diagnose sleep apnoea and the steps to take to get a good night’s sleep.
For all your sleep needs, shop a range of personal care products online at Averee now.