Can't sleep? With so much going on in the world that's worrying, it's no wonder that many of us aren't able to sleep well and all in search of sleeping tips. For others still, lack of sleep is a long-term problem which they haven't been able to resolve by swapping their mattress, getting off their phone, or any of the usual suggestions.
Fortunately, there are more ways to try and get better, longer sleep. Bensons for Beds Sleep Scientist, Dr Sophie Bostock, advises.
1. Go for morning walks
'What are you going to do with that extra hour or two in the morning? Brave the outdoors. Getting active early in the day means you start to build up a strong sleep pressure by nightfall. Regular physical activity is associated with deeper, more restorative sleep.'
2. Write down your worries or allocate 'worry time'
'Stress the night before? A simple step to reduce the racing mind is to mentally put the day to rest. An hour before bed, take a pen and paper, and write down everything important that you need to remember for tomorrow. If those same thoughts pop up while you’re in bed, tell yourself it’s on the page, it’s safe to let it go.'
'If worry interferes with your day or night, set aside a time each day to give your worries some serious attention. Allocating a 20 minute ‘worry time’ into your schedule can help prevent unhelpful thoughts intruding at other times. During worry time, reflect and write about your worries. When worry time comes to an end, move on.'
3. Get out into the sun and exercise
'Sunlight is a natural mood booster. Most electric lighting only has a fraction of the intensity of natural daylight. If Monday hits and you’re in need of an energy boost, take a walk, or move next to a window. Daylight is cheaper than an espresso, and boosts the brain’s production of serotonin, the feel-good hormone.
'Sleep and exercise have a mutually reinforcing relationship: regular physical activity will reward you with deeper, less disrupted sleep; good quality sleep will give you the energy and self-control you need to stick to your fitness goals. Exercising in the morning has the advantage of fully waking up the body clock, so that you’re more likely to feel naturally tired in the evening.'
4. Try to get more sleep earlier in the night
Many of us have heard about the importance of deep sleep – and it turns out that it's much easier to get it if you go to bed earlier.
'The body goes through 4 or 5 sleep cycles each night, but the cycles in the first part of the night are richer in deep sleep, whereas the cycles in the second part of the night consist of more REM, Rapid Eye Movement or dream sleep.'
5. Don't worry about lost sleep too much
One of the unfortunate side effects of wanting to sleep better is worrying too much about not getting enough of it. Try not to be too anxious about a poor night's sleep, advises Sophie:
'Good news - your brain is very good at recovery sleep. The night after a restless night, the odds are that you will sleep more deeply. You don’t need to catch up on every single lost hour of sleep, hour by hour. Going to bed much too early, or having an extended lie in, will confuse your body clock. Aim to stick to the same bedtime and wake times to within an hour or two, 7 days a week.'
- And – don't forget you need a comfortable pillow, too. Find the best pillows in our buyer's guide.