Sleep is one of the top 40 things that Brits don’t get enough of, according to a recent study by Virgin Active.
The study, of 2,000 adults also discovered exactly what Brits consider to be enough, with seven hours sleep considered ideal – although the average adult actually gets less than six in reality.
Silentnight’s resident sleep expert, Dr Nerina, has done extensive research on sleep and has listed several common mistakes people often make that we, as a nation, should aim to crack if we want to start sleeping better.
1. Skipping breakfast
Dr Nerina said: “Not having breakfast is a surprising cause of poor sleep. I see lots of people struggle with eating early in the morning but skipping it will put everything, including your sleep out of sync. Not ‘breaking the fast’ leaves your body running on the wrong kind of energy throughout the day, but by having breakfast you stabilise your blood sugar while activating your body’s circadian timer, which allows it to make more of the sleep hormone melatonin later in the day.
“Eating something as small as eight almonds and two dates is enough to kick start your body and lead to deep, restorative sleep.”
2. Neglecting your sleep environment
“You might think you’re taking every step to make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep but so many people neglect the most obvious thing; their sleep environment. Recent research has shown that nearly half of us are sleeping on old or second-hand mattresses and I believe this is dramatically impacting the quality of people’s sleep.
“A good environment is an essential part of getting deep, restorative sleep and this means everything from the right light and temperature in your bedroom to the right comfort of mattress. Turn your bedroom into a calming space that you really want to spend time in – I guarantee you’ll sleep better.”
3. Replying to emails in bed
“I see so many people who can’t sleep but spend their evenings catching up on emails they haven’t managed to respond to during the day. This is a big mistake, and more often than not is the reason for their lack of sleep and exhaustion.
“When we look at our phone or a computer screen our brain mentally responds to the blue light, waking us up and making it impossible for us to unwind and prepare for sleep. Checking emails before bed is a recipe for disaster if you want to sleep well. It might be a tough habit to break but if you’re serious about getting a good night’s sleep, log of your emails and put down your phone 60-90 minutes before bed.”
Dr Nerina also believes that the secret to a good night’s kip is being in bed at a sensible time, allowing your body enough time to wind down before you nod off.