Reader question: Why do I always wake up tired?

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.

‘Clean Sleeping’ is the new ‘Clean Eating’ – Gwyneth Paltrow

It’s not just Ariana Huffington filling our news feeds with sleep advice. Gwyneth Paltrow, also known as the Queen of ‘You-Won’t-Believe-This-One’ Fads has recently released a new book called ‘Goop Clean Beauty’ that is filled with an interesting mix of sleep advice.

The concept of ‘clean sleeping’ is nothing new really. It involves prioritising sleep to ensure you get your health-promoting 7-9 hours every day. Whilst 2016 saw many become ‘clean eating’ followers, 2017 may just be the year that sleeping well becomes cooler than staying up late.

Gwen’s clean sleep advice includes sleeping on a copper-infused pillow slip; taking a magnesium supplement just before bed; wearing heated socks and maintaining a 12-hour fasting window.

Most of her sleep advice is well-researched. For example, magnesium has been known as a muscle-relaxer for hundreds of years. However, other bits are rather odd: Does sleeping on a copper-infused pillow translate to copper ions passing through your skin and entering your bloodstream? It’s unlikely, but those who follow Gwen are sure to give it a go.

Whoever is saying it, the truth is, sleep is good for you. We hope your sleep is clean and you wake up feeling fresh!

Image source: Elle Australia, Clean Sleeping will be the biggest health trend of 2017, according to Gwyneth Paltrow