No PH 2-nite
It might be a handy alarm clock, but keeping your mobile phone next to your bed could delay and reduce your sleep. Studies suggest that mobile phone radiation interferes with your brainwaves at the exact time your brain is trying to rest and repair after the day’s events.* The answer? Turn off your mobile several hours before you prepare for bed, advises Dr Delwyn Bartlett of the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research in Sydney.
You probably know to avoid stimulants like caffeine before bed, but if you do need a night-time nibble, try dairy products like yoghurt. They contain the amino acid tryptophan, which helps release the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, according to Dr Naras Lapsys from Sydney’s The Body Doctor.
The average person changes position an incredible 30-40 times a night – so, if you tend to toss and turn a lot, make sure your bed is big enough. Constantly rolling into your partner will significantly disrupt your sleep. Meanwhile, replace your mattress approximately every 10 years and consider a medium to firm model. Dr John Reggars, from the Chiropractic & Osteopathic College of Australasia, reveals that firmer mattresses provide the most restful sleep.
Switch off your TV
Having trouble sleeping? Then a television has no place in your bedroom. If you’re focused on waiting to see Brad Pitt on the Late Show With David Letterman, you may miss the signals telling you that your body is ready to go to sleep. “It’s easy to miss the window of opportunity,” says Dr David Cunnington of the department of respiratory and sleep disorders medicine at Melbourne’s Western Hospital.
To encourage deep sleep, make sure your bedroom temperature stays constant by blocking draughts and using a fan or timed heater. Dr Cunnington also suggests taking a warm bath before bed. He says our body temperature drops by half a degree when we nod off, and that leaving a bath mimics this and fools our body into thinking it’s bedtime.
Embrace the dark side
Those gossamer drapes may look chic, but even the smallest sliver of light can disturb sleep. According to Dr Cunnington, this is because light affects your circadian rhythm (sleep patterns), and your body’s production of melatonin and serotonin. So consider investing in heavy curtains and turn LED clocks to the wall – this is doubly helpful as constantly checking the time (and getting anxious about it) can increase insomnia.
Research by Karolinska Institute and Uppsala University, Sweden; Wayne State University, Michigan.