Thursday, 2 October 2014

Over to You: Your Best Sleep Suggestions!

Sleeptember is over! The Sleep Council have once again run a fantastic campaign and done great work to make people aware of the benefits of a good night’s sleep!

But it seems a lot of you are already very clued up on how to achieve that! For our Sleeptember competition, we asked our Facebook fans to give us their best tip on how to sleep well. Responses ranged from tried-and-tested methods to new ideas that just went to show that every individual is different. We’ve pooled together some of the best suggestions — maybe you’ll find something that helps you!



For a lot of people, getting ready for bed starts much earlier in the day. Many advise ditching the caffeine well before the evening begins so that it has time to fully leave the system. Suggested drinks to wind down with instead are herbal teas aimed at promoting good sleep (Clipper tea got a lot of praise!) and milky drinks like hot chocolate, Horlicks and Ovaltine.

For many, their evening routine is a very important part of a good night’s sleep. As well as milky drinks or herbal teas, some people propose eating a banana, rightly pointing out that there’s something in it that helps you to drift off. (It’s called tryptophan, if you’re interested!) There are lots of fans of gentle exercise such as a walk or some yoga. Even more popular is a hot bath to relax you before you head off to bed. Following that, suggested pre-bed activities include meditation, sudoku, crafts and a good book. Lots of people agree that it isn’t so much what you do during your bedtime routine but making sure that you stick to it that matters.

There are a lot of thoughts on how to achieve the perfect sleep environment, but a great mattress and pillows, clean bedding and comfy pyjamas are a must for many people, as well as a dark, cool room. Lavender, known for its calming properties, is also highly and frequently recommended, in the form of room sprays, a few drops of essential oil on your pillow or pulse points, or added to fabric conditioner during a bedding wash. You should also remove any screens from your room, our commenters agreed, and not use them for an hour before bed.

If you like listening to something when you go to sleep, you’re certainly not alone, with a lot of people swearing by rain sounds, ocean noises, and classical music. At the other end of the spectrum are those who keep the ear plugs on standby, often to block out the sounds of snoring partners! The question of whether to share a bed or not remains open, though — while some people love the space and quiet that comes from sleeping alone, others find it tough to drift off without a cuddle or other, um, activities… If you’re troubled by a noisy or restless partner but don’t want to head for the spare room, you could try the compromise favoured by a lot of our commenters, and head to bed an hour or so before them, giving yourself time to fall asleep and sparing them an elbow in the ribs.

And what about once you’re in bed and actively trying to fall asleep? Yes, there are plenty of ideas about that too! Focusing on your own breathing, good memories, and colours from white to black to yellow are all methods that people find work for them. One suggested technique is to imagine each part of your body completely relaxing, starting with your toes and working up. Others sing songs, recite poetry, or count backwards in their heads.

What’s your preferred way to get ready for bed? Is there something we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments!