When it comes to sleep, everyone is truly different. The amount of sleep you need is determined by a number of factors, ranging from your activity level to your weight, age, and diet.
While everyone needs a different amount of sleep to wake up feeling recharged and refreshed every morning, we all share some common sleep characteristics that can be optimised for a better, more energising night’s sleep.
We spoke to The Odd Mattress Company to learn more about the three principles of sleep cycle optimisation, and how they can be used to give you a better night’s sleep every time you get into bed.
Feeling hungry? Fill up on low-GI food for less morning fatigue
Not even the lightest sleepers can eat while they sleep. When you spend eight hours in bed without any food, your body can feel starved of the calories and nutrients it needs for optimum energy.
Consume 150-250 calories of low-GI food about an hour before you sleep to provide your body with a source of energy throughout the night. This will help you wake up feeling more energetic, as well as preventing early-morning headaches.
Struggle to sleep? Avoid late afternoon and evening caffeine
Caffeine can wreak havoc on your body’s natural sleep cycle. Drinking caffeine late in the afternoon – or for some people, even shortly after midday – can disrupt your body’s natural sleep cycle and keep you awake in bed for hours.
If you spend more than a few minutes trying to fall asleep each night, try eliminating caffeine from your afternoon routine. Even a 100mg dose of caffeine (equivalent to a small cup of coffee) can severely disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm.
Sleep in too often? Sleep and wake up at the same time every day
Like other aspects of personal health, great sleep is all about consistency. Creating a habit out of going to bed and waking up at the exact same time each day helps you to form hard-wired mental routines that prevent you from sleeping poorly.
Set a strict bedtime and wake-up routine for yourself and force your body to stick to it, even if you initially feel tired upon waking. Many people feel tired when they get out of bed, but become more alert after spending a few minutes walking around.
What’s the best way to change your sleeping habits?
Do you go to sleep too late? Do you wake up feeling tired? Like other habits, it’s best to change sleep habits gradually. Move your bedtime forward half an hour at a time, and make gradual changes until your sleep routine becomes automatic.