As Big Ben falls quiet for the first time in
recent memory, Londoners all over the city are getting ready to
experience their first truly silent night. To make the most of this
unique silence (so unique that it'll happen every night for four
years…) here's our best advice for the perfect good night
sleep.


Keep it cool


There's always the want to snuggle up at night,
especially during the great British 'summer.' Grab the thickest
quilt you've got, make a duvet cocoon and enjoy your cosy
metamorphosis into a well rested person, right? WRONG!
Surprisingly, the best temperature to fall asleep is colder than
you might think.


As our temperature decreases, we fall into a
more relaxed state, making it easier to fall asleep. We're at our
hottest at 19:00, and that slowly goes down through the night.
However, things like exercise and eating late can interrupt that
decline.



Cut the lights


Night lights keep monsters away, but you know
what else they keep away? A good night's sleep. The fluorescent
glow works as a drug of sorts, in that it messes with your brain.
As you grow weary, you produce melatonin, a chemical which relaxes
the body. Obviously, this is helpful as you're trying to fall
asleep, but if the process is interrupted, you're going to have a
much more difficult time catching those Zs. You remain wide awake,
so you continue to make the hormones that keep you awake, like
cortisol, and you don't want that.


For as long as we've existed, humans are awake
during the day and sleep during the night. It is light during the
day, and dark at night. So if you want to sleep, keep things dark!
Simple.



Eyes off the clock


Staring at the clock - we've all done it. Time
never moves as slowly as it does when you're trying to get to
sleep. You want to prove to yourself that you've been lying awake
for ages, but usually it's barely been a few minutes. It's torture,
and according to our resident sleep expert Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan,
the act in itself actually impacts how easily you drift
off.


"You're likely to start calculating how many
hours you have left before morning and worrying about how much
sleep you're missing out on. This is a terrible cycle to get into
and it will only make you more stressed and less able to drift back
off."



 


Just as Big Ben's Bongs are a staple of London
life, so are these bad habits. You wrap yourself up, stare at your
phone screen and keep checking the time. It's so easy, so tempting,
but so harmful. As we enter a newer, quieter era of city life,
start something new of your own. Clock maintenance; sleep
maintenance; they're practically the same thing!