Hello, I'm Lisa from The Sleep
Council and we have very kindly been asked to do a guest blog post
for Silentnight on our top tips for getting a good night's sleep
and handy hints on buying a new bed.

Like proper nutrition and exercise, sleep fulfils a vital role
in keeping us healthy and happy. We need a good night's sleep to
ensure we're feeling fit, thinking sharply and generally to give us
the appetite and enthusiasm to make the most of everyday

However, poor sleep and fatigue are common problems, affecting
millions of people world-wide. 

If you're not getting as much rest as you need, try following
our simple tips to help yourself to get a better night's sleep.

  • Keep regular hours. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the
    same time, all the time, will programme your body to sleep

  • Create a restful sleeping environment. Your bedroom should be
    kept for rest and sleep and it should be neither too hot, nor too
    cold; and as quiet and dark as possible. Make sure your bed is
    comfortable. It's difficult to get deep, restful sleep on one
    that's too soft, too hard, too small or too old.

  • Take more exercise. Regular, moderate exercise such as swimming
    or walking can help relieve the day's stresses and strains. But not
    too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake!

  • Don't end up compensating for lack of sleep by going too heavy
    on stimulants such as caffeine in tea, coffee or cola - especially
    in the evening. They interfere with falling asleep and prevent deep
    sleep. Have a hot milky drink or herbal tea instead.

  • Don't over-indulge. Too much food or alcohol, especially late
    at night, just before bedtime, can play havoc with sleep patterns.
    Alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, but will interrupt your
    sleep later on in the night.

  • Don't smoke. Yes, it's bad for sleep, too: smokers take longer
    to fall asleep, wake more often and often experience more sleep

  • Try to relax and insist on some 'me time' before going to bed.
    Have a warm bath, listen to some quiet music, do some yoga - all
    help to relax both the mind and body. Your doctor may be able to
    recommend a helpful relaxation tape, too.

  • Deal with worries or a heavy workload by making lists of things
    to be tackled the next day.

  • Resolve arguments before bed. Ongoing conflicts are not
    conducive to putting you in the right frame of mind for sleep!

  • If you can't sleep, don't lie there worrying about it. Get up
    and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again -
    then go back to bed

The right bed is extremely important to our health and wellbeing
because our sleeping environment will affect the quality of our
sleep - which in turn has a big effect on how well we feel, both
physically and psychologically.  A bed with the correct
support, comfort and space will ensure you wake less, move about
less, are less disturbed by your partner and are less likely to
wake up feeling tired or aching.

Here's a handy checklist for bed buying:

  • Decide your priorities and concerns in advance. For example, is
    it :- price, storage, access to bedroom, turning the mattress,
    getting in and out of bed, overall size or shape, a health issue,

  • If possible, try a selection of beds for comparison before you

  • Buy for correct support and comfort for your weight and build -
    not just firmness.

  • Lie down in your normal sleeping position and make some turns,
    too. Wear comfortable clothing and remove any outdoor gear.

  • Try it together, if the bed's for two.

  • Don't forget a bed is a mattress and a base working
    together - don't consider them in isolation.

  • Think big - larger beds are more comfortable.

  • You get what you pay for - both in product and service - so
    spend as much as you can afford.

Remember, you're going to spend over 20,000 hours on your bed
during its seven year lifespan so it's worth taking a little time
and effort in the beginning to make sure you make the right

If you want any further sleep tips or bed advice, visit www.sleepcouncil.org.uk
or request one of our free leaflets - Bed Buyers Guide and Sleep
Good Feel Good Guide - on 0800 018 7923.

Thanks for reading and thanks to Silentnight for inviting us to
take part.

Lisa - The Sleep

The Sleep Council is a generic body that aims to:

  • Raise awareness of the importance of a good night's sleep to
    health and wellbeing.

  • Provide helpful advice and tips on how to improve sleep

  • Provide helpful advice on choosing the right bed for optimum
    sleeping comfort.

The Sleep Council is funded by the National Bed Federation, the
trade association for UK and Eire bed manufacturers and UK and EU
component suppliers.