You know that grouchy, awful feeling you get when you haven’t slept properly? And the dark circles under your eyes, snappy demeanour and generally miserable outlook the whole next day?
Yeah, we really don’t want that. We all know how important a good night’s sleep is for mood, diet, energy levels and productivity.
Sleep impacts every facet of our lives. In fact, recent research from Florida State University has found that happier couples tend to catch a few more winks than couples who are less thrilled with one another, establishing a correlation between relationship satisfaction and getting more sleep.
When it comes to hitting the sack, there are a few things you can do to optimise your sleep and prepare for a restful night ahead. Here are the five top tips for a better night’s sleep that everyone should know.
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When it comes to messing with sleep schedules, one culprit is worse than all of the others: caffeine.
"No caffeine after 3pm," explains Joseph Gannon, sleep physiologist at The Sleep Disorders Clinic
"Caffeine is hidden in many drinks - teas, coffees, fizzy drinks, even hot chocolate and chocolate. It's been proven in numerous studies to hinder sleep consolidation and fragment sleep."
And if you're dependent on gulping down the espressos to combat your sleep deprivation, don't be.
New research from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research presented at Sleep 2016
(the annual meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and The Sleep Research Society) discovered that yes, caffeine can help you stay awake after a couple of nights of restricted sleep of five hours or less. However, if you have three bad nights in a row or more, it's essentially useless. But it will still make you irritable and jittery.
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Sure, alcohol is wonderful at sending you into a dreamlike doze - especially after that seventh Sambuca shot - but it has a bad impact on your overall sleep. According to Gannon, numerous studies have shown that as sleep progresses and the alcohol wears off, it has a fragmentary effect.
"You’ll have a lighter sleep for longer and won’t get into the much-valued slow-wave sleep," he says.
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Not only is technology in the bed a potential problem for your relationship - like when you spend your nights curating snaps on Instagram instead of chatting to your flesh-and-blood partner face-to-face - it's also an issue for your sleep. Especially the lights the devices emit.
"One of the key controlling factors in your sleep-wake cycle is your circadian rhythm and it’s affected by the blue lights in a light source and the screens you look at," says Gannon.
"They will reduce the levels of melatonin that are released in your body (melatonin is a hormone that helps to induce sleep)." He suggests shutting off, putting away and forgetting about all devices from at least an hour before bedtime.
"I recommend that the bedroom should be for sex and sleep," Gannon adds. "You shouldn’t be working in the bedroom or checking emails in the bedroom. It should be a relaxation zone."
Blackout blinds or curtains can help to make the bedroom an oasis of sleep and keep it dark - as it should be.
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As tempting as it is to stay up late one night and sleep in later the next morning, it's not great for your sleeping schedule. In fact, sticking to a routine - with a regular bed time and wake-up time - can improve your sleep. This means getting up at 7am on weekends, too.
Super tired when you wake up? Don't let yourself oversleep. Get up at the normal time and put yourself to bed earlier to recover from your tiredness.
Blackout blinds, calming tunes, cosy, plumped up pillows: you want your bed to be as comfortable as possible. Remember that bedding is key (you want sheets and a duvet that help keep you cool in the summer and warm you up in the winter), as is investing in a breathable mattress.
Thinking of upgrading your bed? Now's the time to try out a TEMPUR®
mattress, which contours to the exact shape of your body and provides support and cushioning, whether you prefer a firmer or softer feel when you sleep.
The best part? You can now try a mattress from sleep experts TEMPUR® for 100 nights (if purchased from 22nd August – 1st November 2016). This offer is available at participating TEMPUR stockists.