We all know the benefits of getting a good kip. A restful slumber leaves you feeling more alert, more creative and more capable.
But how much is enough? According to experts, a good night’s sleep is seven to eight hours for adults. But according to a 2013 study by the Sleep Council, the average Briton gets only six and a half hours’ sleep at night, and most of us, rightly, don’t feel that is enough.
A good night’s sleep is especially key if you’re a business person. When we sleep our brains move memories from short-term to long-term storage thereby creating valuable space for the next day. If we’re not getting enough sleep those memories may be lost. Not what you want when meeting suppliers or prospects or running important meetings and projects.
For those of us that feel that sleep is still that all-elusive creature, here are some top tips for getting some good shut-eye.
1. Eat fibre
A recent study has shown that people who eat food rich in fibre, went to sleep more quickly and were less likely to wake during the night than people who ate sugar-laden or fatty foods. Dr Michael Mosley, British television journalist and presenter (who trained as a doctor at the Royal Free Hospital) recently set out to prove this by upping his intake of fibre and results proved that the quality of his deep sleep did improve.
2. Turn off devices
It’s tempting to look at Linkedin one more time, check the news or write another email, but most sleep experts agree you should ban smartphones, tablets and electronic alarms at least an hour before bed. It’s all about melatonin, which helps us get to sleep and is excreted into our blood flow, when the light is low. The artificial blue light from devices halts the production of melatonin and can potentially keep us awake.
3. Avoid that tipple before bed
While it’s tempting to have a few drinks in the evening, especially after a hard day at work, cutting back on the amount you consume, could benefit the quality of your sleep. Experts seem to agree that while drinking may help you fall asleep faster, the resulting tossing and turning may not be worth it.
4. Take a hot bath
Taking a warm bath before bed can help you fall asleep more quickly and may improve the quality of your sleep. After a good soak, the warm water raises your body temperature, when you hop out of the tub you cool down and this mimics the natural drop in body temperature when your brain begins to drift off.
5. Wear socks to bed
Cover up your tootsies with a pair of socks and you may fall asleep more easily. The extra layers helps improve circulation which speeds up the sleep process.
Inhaling lavender before bed has noted benefits for sleep as it’s known as a mild sedative. Use a roll-on on your pulse points, sprinkle a few drops on your linen or stuff dried lavender in your pillowcases and enjoy some deep sleep.