Getting enough sleep (between 7 and 9 hours) is essential, but you have to keep in mind the quality of your sleep too. Sleep quality is influenced by many, many factors but some of the easiest to fix are your sleep environment and your sleep hygiene.
Your sleep environment is where you sleep. The greatest factor is the bed you are sleeping on – you need a firm base and the right mattress for your age and stage. Pain and discomfort will intrude on your sleep and see you tossing and turning rather than enjoying deep, healthy slumber.
Your sleep environment also includes what goes on top of your bed – your sheeting, duvet and pillows. Good quality bedding allows your body to regulate its temperature so you don’t wake up because you are too hot or too cold.
Ensuring that your bed is placed in a dark, cool room (around 21 degrees celcius) where you can relax and enjoy pleasant smells (think lavender and vanilla) and pleasant sounds (think music that relaxes you) will also promote greater sleep quality as well as faster sleep onset. Waking up during the night because of minor disruptions (dogs barking, mosquitos biting, smart phone notifications…) will diminish your sleep quality so try to take preventative measures before you climb in bed. Put your dog to sleep in his bed outside, turn on a fan and turn off your phone. (Read more: The ideal sleep environment)
Sleep hygiene also impacts sleep quality. Sleep hygiene is what you do before you go to bed and has recently been dubbed ‘clean sleeping’. The idea is to avoid anything that is known to interrupt sleep such as caffeine, alcohol and screen time and embrace habits that help you sleep better such as exercising regularly, drinking calming teas (rooibos or chamomile) and practicing breathing/meditation/prayer exercises.
Be it your sleep environment or your sleep habits that need some sprucing up, fear not, good sleep is on your horizon.