According to recent studies, nearly 50% of the UK population is getting less than six hours of sleep and four out of five people are getting low quality sleep. We know from public health information available from the NHS collated from many studies, that a lack of sleep can not only make you feel lethargic and put you in a bad mood, but it also has the ability to have much deeper consequences on your health and has the potential to put you at risk of conditions such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
These are just a few reasons that we all need sleep in order to not only feel good in the day, but to survive and be healthy long term. A lot of advice about improving your sleep points to the bedroom. We need to keep it cool, dark, quiet and free from all technological devices in order to have a chance of getting great sleep.
What you might not know, is that a lot of factors outside of the bedroom can affect your quality of sleep inside the bedroom. So even if you have gotten everything as it should be in your sleeping area, there’s still even more that can be done to ensure you’re getting the best possible quality sleep when you bed down for the night.
Here are several ways to improve your sleep that aren’t just in the bedroom:
Kitchen Activity Late At Night
There are a few different ways activities in the kitchen affect your sleep and one of them is eating late at night. Some people get into a habit of eating a large meal or lots of snacks before bed because it makes them feel sleepy and helps them get to sleep. The problem is that this is counterproductive. Your metabolism is burdened with all that energy just before you’re about to get some rest, so your body never really gets the proper rest it needs. If you eat anything with sugar in, your sleep could be disturbed when the effects kick in. Try and stop eating at least three hours before bedtime to maximise sleep quality.
Making A Brew
Caffeine is a major cause of sleep disturbance, because it is a stimulant. Some people struggle to sleep if they drink coffee after midday, others might feel able to drink coffee and sleep soundly but they wake up several times in the night and possibly early in the morning as well. Some people don’t realise that caffeine hides in many things other than coffee, so you might not even know you’re consuming it close to bedtime. Chocolate, green tea, black tea and even some fruity fizzy drinks have hidden caffeine. If you do have issues with your sleep it is worth stopping those trips to the kitchen for caffeine fixes at least for a week and seeing if that makes a difference.
Noise & Smell Pollution
Noise and smell pollution is a particular issue if you have an open plan house or a small house. It can also be caused by where you live, and factors beyond your control. But there is a lot you can do to minimise the affects of things like sharing a house with several people who are up at different times, living near a road, living next door to noisy neighbours and so on. Here are some top tips to minimise noise & smell pollution in your home:-
- Get creaky floorboards fixed as they can make such a loud noise when they are trodden on and loose
- Put in doors between areas to act as a noise and smell barrier, internal sliding doors are an excellent solution to keep light filtering through, but to minimise noise and smells going through the house
- Get a higher quality extractor fan so if somebody is cooking late at night, the fan can gather most of the odour
- Get rugs or carpet in areas where footsteps make a big impact on the noise levels in the home
- Have a set of house rules that come into play after a certain time, so that everyone who lives in the home is respectful of those who are asleep
Exercising Too Close To Bedtime
You may well love doing a DVD workout in the living room, or getting on your dining room exercise bike all instead of going to the gym, but working out too close to bedtime could actually disturb your sleep. Certainly doing exercise at all is known to boost your chance of getting restful sleep, but the problem is when you do it. Make sure you exercise well ahead of your bedtime, at least three hours before in fact. Your body could experience a boost in energy straight after a workout which doesn’t make for the best way to get to sleep.
Creating Boundaries With Your Pets
Everybody loves their pets, and according to studies ever one in two households owns a pet. The problem is, they can love them so much that the pets get free reign in the bedroom to come and go as they please. This can be an issue in terms of getting into a comfortable position and not wanting to move the pet. This can also be an issue because the dog might wake you up early if it feels like it, or if you have a cat, they might play with your feet, jump on you, meow in your face and anything they feel like doing. None of this makes for a good night’s sleep. So, if you can persuade yourself that the pets will be happy and healthy sleeping downstairs, this will work wonders for your sleep quality and your pets will benefit from a more well rested and happier owner. Keep the bedroom door shut and if possible, keep bifold doors closed downstairs as well so that the pet cannot walk upstairs and start scratching your door to come in.
So, if you are one of the 30% who are severely sleep deprived, or the 36% who have chronic insomnia (according to a large study), perhaps it is time to look beyond the bedroom in order to get your sleep in check, and start enjoying a healthier and more well rested life. Sweet dreams!
*This post was guest written by Anneka who is a freelance writer from Nottingham who has been writing for over three years. She has an interest in travel, animals and wellbeing. Anneka enjoys writing as both a creative outlet and a way to earn a living from any location in the world. Images provided by Canva.
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