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Hacks To Improve How You Sleep And For How Long

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With 2021 underway, we're still spending the majority of our days indoors; and this is having well known impacts on our mental and physical health. Another aspect of our lives which is greatly affected by lockdown is our sleep; we've come up with ways in which you can improve you slumber.

Hester Hammond

Try Sleep Date Nights

We all know that English people are rubbish sleepers. On average, we tend to sleep six and a half hours - less than what we actually need to function as normal human beings. The reasons are known to everyone; we conduct busy lives and use our phones before going to sleep. These are only two of the numerous reasons that are behind our disrupted sleeping pattern; it would take too much space to mention all of them, making this article so boring that it will makes you fall asleep.

Where were we? Ah right, Sleep Date Nights! According to Dr Guy Meadows, co-founder of The Sleep School, this is a much better approach than when you try to catch up on lost sleep on weekend lie-ins. When we do this, it actually makes things worse; we feel horrible as if we have jet lag. For example, if you wake up at 7am during the day, but lie in on weekends and wake up at about 12am you're on New York time.

Although we know how tempting it is to stay in bed till midday, try to have week days catch-up nights instead. Commit to it. Put some clean and fresh bed sheets on and get the amount of sleep you need: seven to eight hours, plus 30 minutes. This extra time will allow your body to catch up on lost sleep.

Get That Body Temperature Right

Sleeping in a room that is too warm or too cold can disrupt your sleep; that might be the reason why you keep snoozing your alarm in the morning to get some extra sleep.

When our rooms are too warm, especially during those very hot summer nights, our brain may find it hard to switch to "sleep mode; and you may find yourself tossing and turning to find a section of the mattress that will help you to cool down.

18 degrees Celsius is the ideal room temperature for a good night sleep. It is natural for our bodies to drop two to three degrees at nights to prepare our body and mind in order to sleep; an explanation for this could be that we evolved to sleep outdoors, where it's pretty natural for temperatures to drop.

Studies have shown that taking a warm bath can help you improve your deep sleep by 10%. So before going to sleep, try to have a bath at approximately 39 degrees Celsius; this will help your body replicate the pre-sleep adaptation.

Take Some Deep Breaths

There is a breathing techniques that will help you fall asleep in 60 seconds; and no, it doesn't involve holding your breath until you pass out.

This technique is known as the 4-7-8: while keeping the tip of your tongue behind your front teeth, breathe in through your nose for a count of 4, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and then breath out through your mouth for 8 seconds. Try repeat this two to 4 times.

By doing so, you will allow more oxygen in your body, promoting a state of calm. It's a natural tranquiliser for the nervous system; this breathing technique, like others, helps wind your brain down by relaxing the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands.

Start practicing this technique for a few weeks and your brain will shortly learn that when it's safe to shut down.

Stay In Shape While You Sleep

I bet you didn't know that falling asleep in front of the TV makes you gain weight...

A study conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science in the US found that, of the 43,772 women aged between 35-42 who took part on the programme, those who slept in front of the TV or with a night light were 17% more likely to gain 5kg over the next five years.

They were also 22% more like t become newly overweight, and 33% more likely to become newly obese.

As our bodies need deep sleep to properly digest our meals, artificial light can complicate things by disrupting the production of melatonin, the hormone that has been associated with the control of the sleep-wake cycle. Consequently, the less melatonin is produced, the less deep sleep, which means the less effective digestion.

If You Snooze You Lose

We all know that there two types of people in this world: the early raisers, who get out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off; and the snoozers, who constantly snooze their alarm pretending they have no responsibilities for that day.

I'm sorry to say this, but if you're a snoozer then, you're doing harm to yourself.

You know that groggy feeling you have as soon as you wake up? Well that only lasts 30 minutes for normal morning people; but for chronic snoozers it can last up from two to four hours from the time they finally decide to wake up.

When you snooze your alarm and go back to sleep, hormones are released, tricking your body into thinking that it's time for deep sleep again. Waking up from this state 10 minutes later can make you feel even more tired.

Last year, Apple was requested to remove the snooze button from their devices has it having an enormous impact on people's health, especially mental health. By pressing the snooze button you're simply multiplying the assault to both your brain and body, repeating the impact on your autonomic nervous system every time you wake up.

Create The Perfect Morning Routine

If you don't already have a morning routine, create one. It is largely known how our pre-bedtime routine can affect our sleep. But having a good morning routine has benefits as well.

Our bodies respond better to single rules, for example, getting as soon as you wake up or as soon as you alarm goes off. So, if you woke up 15 minutes before your set alarm, don't fall into the temptation of enjoying the remaining few minutes; you'll end up going back to deep sleep, which we've learned is harder to wake up from.

Next thing you should do as soon as you wake up is drink a glass of water. As our bodies haven't had a drop in hours, drinking as much water as you can as soon as you wake up helps stimulate our metabolism, hydrate us, getting rid off toxins and fuel our brains. It will also help you wake up.

As soon as you get out of bed, open up the curtains and expose your face and body to sunlight. It's helpful to stretch a little; this will activate your joints and muscles, putting you on a calmer state of mind.

Power Naps

You might want to reconsider power naps. It helps you quickly recharge your body and mind.

To do this right, you should keep your sleep short and sweet. A power nap of about 10-25 minutes; this will allow light sleep only, improving cognitive performance and making you feel less tired. Careful not to take longer naps; they will not promote recovery. On the contrary, you'll fall into deep sleep making you feel jetlagged for the next 30-45 minutes after you wake up.

This happens because your body thinks that you're falling into a natural sleep cycle; but as soon as you hit the deep sleep mode, you're more likely to be pull out of it.

The Quarter Hour Rule

This is a scene you're probably familiar with: you tell yourself that if you fall asleep now you'll sleep for six hours; you close your eye and your body switches off to sleep. You open your eyes again after you've tried vainly to fall asleep again, and the hands of the clock have changed position. You start thinking that you won't be getting any sleep tonight.

Instead of counting sheep or listening to some white noise music, try getting out of bed. This is part of the quarter hour rule: If you've been laying in bed for 15 minutes and you still have fallen asleep, you should get out of bed and read a book. Then, when you feel sleep you go back to bed.

When you're laying in bed awake, you're bedroom becomes a war zone; you battle to fall asleep. This will make you feel more anxious, and I'm sure you know it's not a helpful feeling before falling asleep.

Avoid Orthosomnia

There is a new phenomenon in town: orthosomnia, which is essentially the obsession of getting the perfect sleep.

Nowadays people are starting to demonstrate great interest in their own daily habits; they strive for perfection growing more and more anxious and stressed.

Knowing what it takes to make up a healthy and balanced existence it's important; however, we can be led to make overly-informed decisions which may end up being disadvantageous for the body.

Apart from the most obvious ways in which you may disrupt your sleeping pattern, there also more insidious ones: such as, checking your sleep stats on your phone, exposing you to blue light, which is known to disrupt your sleep. Try to avoid this by turning off your phone and leaving it in another room to avoid any temptation; relax and get yourself a good pillow.

The Importance Of The Right Mattress

When you're choosing a mattress, you should look out for certain things. As most of us tend to sleep on their side, when you're in the shop, make sure that you test the mattress by laying on your side for at least 5 minutes. Ask someone to come with you, so that they can check whether your back is straight. Alternatively, ensure that your weight is evenly distributed; this means that you shouldn't have only certain parts of your body sinking into the mattress.

Consider the kind of material you want your mattress to be made of. We suggest a memory foam and spring hybrid mattress. When you lay on the foam, it helps distribute the weight of your body so that you don't get pressure points; this means, for example, that your arms won't fall asleep. Whereas, the springs help release heat.

Get a mattress with a good return policy. Obviously you cannot know from trying a mattress for 5-10, whether it's the right choice for you. You will probably be able to understand whether you've made a good decision by having it at home and sleeping on; give it 30 days time.

Try A Sommio Weighted Blanket

Sommio Weighted blankets work by exercising deep touch pressure (DTP) all over you body making you feel calm and sleepy. They do so by increasing the production of serotonin, the happy hormone. Healthy serotonin levels support the regulation of mood and increase feelings of contentment.

Serotonin as a very close relationship with another important hormone: melatonin, that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin regulates the circadian rhythm, that is our biological clock. Melatonin levels are low during the day, keeping us alert; whereas, at night darkness stimulates your brain in the production of more melatonin making you feel sleepy.

Beside increasing good hormones, such as melatonin and serotonin, Sommio weighted blanket can also reduce cortisol. Cortisol is our stress hormone; we have either too much or too little of it. Too much cortisol, leaves you feeling stressed all day; too little cortisol, instead, leaves you feeling tired all day. We need to find a balance.  This is were the Sommio Weighted blanket comes into play; by helping you curb cortisol, it helps reducing stress levels as you sleep.

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