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5 steps to better sleep this year

Finding it hard to get back into a routine after the Christmas break?

Relax. January 3rd is the Festival of Sleep: a day when you’re fully entitled to keep warm, curl up under the covers, and stay there as long as you’d like.

No one knows exactly who came up with this festival, but it’s obvious why they did. It may be a holiday, but with all the frantic shopping, cooking, partying and travel that the Christmas season involves, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll start the year tired.

And that’s a problem. Studies connect sleep deprivation to weight gain, the development of chronic health problems from diabetes to depression, memory loss, and lasting damage to your brain.

Don’t have the luxury of spending all day in bed? You can still kickstart the new year with the best resolution of all: getting more sleep.

Go to bed

yawning girl

Obvious, right? Yet apparently we’re very bad at it: UK adults on average undersleep by an hour a night.

You may not have had one since you were small, but a consistent bedtime¬† – known as ‘sleep hygiene‘ – helps regulate your body clock. This means you’ll find it easier not just to fall asleep, but to stay asleep too.

Use a sleep cycle app

You may have no idea why you’re yawning by lunchtime, but a sleep tracking app will know. You might find you lie awake for hours before sleeping, or¬†have long periods of restlessness.

Understanding exactly how much of a sleep debt you’re building up can help to motivate you to make other changes, and get you to bed earlier.

Switch off

You know this. We all know this. But that last check of Twitter, that quick scroll through Facebook: you can’t seem to resist. Dropping off in front of the TV is just as bad.

The science is clear: using screens directly before you sleep actively disrupts your ability to sleep. Switch off. And if you absolutely can’t help checking your phone, download a filter app to minimise the impact of blue light.

Ditch the nightcap

You probably know a cup of coffee before bed isn’t going to help you sleep. But if you’re tempted to knock back a dram of whisky to help you feel drowsy, don’t. Alcohol might make you sleepy, but it’ll also interfere with your sleep cycle and make it harder for you to get the deep, REM sleep you need. Choose a herbal tea or hot milky drink instead.

Make the bedroom a haven

This one isn’t easy. With many of us living in smaller homes with less storage space, the bedroom often ends up a dumping ground. Add in the clutter of discarded clothes, piles of unfinished books and that half-drunk mug of tea left over from Sunday, and it’s hardly enticing.

With a little effort, you can make going to sleep the highlight of your day, by giving yourself the perfect sleep environment. Keep the room clear of mess, and don’t leave it till bedtime to make that happen. Charge your phone and set your alarm, then leave the gadgets alone. Keep lighting dim and soft: lamps, not ceiling lights. Keep the bedroom a little cooler than other rooms: your bedlinen should be warm enough to keep you cosy all night, without overheating. You may find soft music or breathing exercises help you to relax. And of course, make sure you’re comfortable.

A good night’s sleep is something we really care about at Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre. We can’t promise to help you get to bed early. But staying with us in 2018 will take care of step 5: a clean, comfortable bedroom with a great mattress, soft bedlinen, and a soothing atmosphere that makes you feel at home – only better.

 

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