No doubt you’ll be hearing a lot today about the best ways to optimise sleep through diet and lifestyle. Ordinarily, we’d also be on the nutrition bandwagon, talking about the virtues of decaff and cherries, but it just so happened that a different stance - the small matter of ‘TIMING’ - piqued our interest. TIME ANXIETY There is a well know ‘eight-hour sleep myth’ which, though well intended, has a lot to answer for in terms of our perceptions and expectations of sleep. Ironically, the worry about not hitting this ‘optimum’ quota can actually be the biggest stumbling block to sufficient rest. On average, most of us are getting 5.8 hours sleep per night (so say Bensons for Beds), but is this enough? For some...perhaps. Others..maybe not. The question is one of relativity, but all thanks to the power of programming, there is inevitably going to be a psychological element to the tiredness we feel from not getting the 'necessary' 8 hours shut eye. The advice from Tempur, who know a thing or two about sleep, is that whilst sleep is essential for mental and physical health, don’t get caught up on achieving a certain number of hours every night. Sometimes factors beyond your control will inevitably affect your sleep, but try not to overthink it. This could cause far more harm in the long-term than one bad night’s sleep. BED TIME There is a theory that 10.10pm is the optimum time to go to bed. This is according to a new study of 1,000 people by Forza Supplements. This bedtime allows 20 minutes for you to get into deep sleep, and then gives you 90 minutes non-REM sleep before midnight. It does also increase your chances of getting the recommended 8 hours, depending on your morning alarm, but if we’re going by the point made earlier...the importance of this is open to debate! PREPARATION FOR BED TIME Preparation for bed often begins and ends with teeth brushing and face washing. We tend not to allocate much time to 'setting the scene', so to speak, and preparing our sleep environment. If you are wondering what the importance of this is, just take a look at the results of Awair’s ‘open door theory’. They found that room temperature and ventilation had a crucial role in sleep quality, and that bedroom air should ideally be ‘prepped’ an HOUR before going to bed. VOCs and dust can build up inside throughout the day, so leaving your windows open for an hour before bed will keep bedroom air healthy and fresh. Sleeping with the door open can also help carbon dioxide escape from the room throughout the night, improving sleep by up to 50%. But ‘bed prep’ doesn’t need to end there. While we’re on the subject of air quality, one quick fix way to make yours ‘sleep ready’ is with a room or pillow spray containing lavender and chamomile essential oils. Feather and Down pillow spray helps infuse your room with these relaxing scents, to help reduce an anxious mind and encourage calm ahead of a restful night’s sleep. Their range also includes a shower creme and bath essence, so you can double up personal care with an extra stage to your evening’s wind-down routine.
GETTNG TO SLEEP TIME Many of us will spend hours tossing and turning trying to get to sleep, not knowing how much time we’ve spent doing so before finally nodding off. Well, this, according to some experts, is where we are going wrong! 30 minutes is the length of time you SHOULD allow to fall asleep, after which you should do something else. Get up, make yourself a warm drink, read a book, then return to bed once the tired cues set in. The bottom line: Aim for quality not quantity, and while it’s great and beneficial to avoid caffeine, eat light and fill up on cherries, mindset and expectations are just as important when it comes to getting to sleep, and staying asleep. If you’re wondering what’s in it for you, studies show we could benefit from up to a 45% reduction in anxiety symptoms just by getting a good night's sleep, with an improved ability to deal with difficult or stressful situations more easily (AXA PPP Healthcare). Sponsored by Feather and Down Location: Cliveden House / pyjamas: Hush