6. Choose the right pillows
Don’t forget about another place discomfort could arise from – our pillows! Good sleeping posture is key to waking without pain and stiffness, and our pillows help us to achieve this. Good sleep posture is a body in alignment, from the knees and hips, through the spine, chest, shoulders, neck and head. Without sufficient support to your neck and shoulders, or if they are propped at an uncomfortable angle, our spines and bodies are out of alignment. This causes strain and discomfort night after night.
7. Don’t sleep on your front!
Imagine having your head turned to one side all day. It just wouldn’t happen! Sleeping on your front tightens one side of the neck and stretches the other side. This posture is then reinforced night after night because it’s easy, and the body has quickly adapted.
8. Step away from the devices!
Most smartphones, tablets and other screens (such as computer monitors and televisions) emit light within the blue spectrum, also known as ‘blue light’. It is similar to the colour and wavelength of daylight, which can have a detrimental effect on our sleep. Try your best to have at least one hour just before bedtime without any blue light sources.
9. Avoid caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant, and in excessive quantities, it can lead to anxiety, irritability, rapid heartbeat, and sleep disturbance. Why not swap out your late afternoon or evening caffeinated drinks for decaf or herbal alternatives, such as chamomile or peppermint tea? This will help your body to relax in the run-up to bedtime.
10. Sleeping well through the winter months
In the winter months, the nights are longer, and we get less light throughout the day, at a lower intensity. This helps to explain why we feel more sluggish and less energetic. Our vitamin D levels, the ‘sunshine vitamin’ are lower during winter, which can also lead to a higher risk of sleep disturbances, lower sleep quality and reduced sleep duration. Try to increase your vitamin D levels by getting out in the winter sun as often as possible and eating vitamin D-rich foods, such as salmon, tuna, eggs, mushrooms and fortified cereals. Vitamin D is also necessary for absorbing calcium, so your bones will thank you too!