The laws of sleep according to an expert
Sleep. We spend one third of our life doing it and a lack of it is akin to torture. For some it’s something that happens the minute their head hits the pillow while others can only dream of it. There’s much talk of sleep, especially when winter arrives (the season associated with hibernation) yet according to one expert, much sleep talk is utter rubbish. In fact, he claims that if you want a good night’s sleep it’s time to rip up the rulebook and have a rethink.
Sports sleep coach Nick Littlehales trains top athletes like David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo on how to maximise their sleep. He shares his top tips on zesting up your zzz’s….
- Don’t buy the most expensive mattress: “Don’t buy a mattress because of the label on it. And that includes the price tag. There’s no point spending thousands on the wrong mattress….Far better to buy a mattress that is right for you and to replace it more regularly.”
- Take selfies in the bed shop: “How do you know which mattress is right for you?” says Littlehales. “The only sleeping position I recommend is on your side – its best for postural alignment and you’re less likely to snore…the foetal position aligns your spine, neck and head to form a straight line…To check this take a selfie of where your head is relative to the surface of the mattress.” He says “if, when your head, neck and spine are aligned, there is a clear gap of 6cm or more the mattress is too firm. If your head is dropping into the mattress then it’s too soft.”
- Chuck out your pillow or get a thin one
- Don’t let the bedbugs bite: “All your bedding should be free from allergens…fresh linen makes a bed more welcoming”
- Start sleeping in cycles not hours: “Part of the reason people don’t sleep well is because they become obsessed with the idea of getting eight consecutive hours every night, but if you start thinking in cycles it takes the pressure off.”
- Prioritise pre-sleep and post-sleep: “Think of sleep as the 90 minutes either side of it too, because your pre and post sleep routines directly affect the quality of your sleep and your waking day.” Aiming for an 11pm bedtime? Then start preparing at 9.30pm, says Littlehales. “If you’re hungry have a light snack, take the last of your fluids, turn off the technology and basically clear the decks so you don’t lie awake thinking when you could be asleep.” Post sleep is about making sure that the hours after sleep are not wasted. He advises to start the day by flooding the room with light to help kick-start the body clock, then fuelling your body with a good breakfast followed by exercise.
Futon Company says: Our top tip for ensuring a great night’s sleep is ensuring that you’re kitted out for comfort. Think comfy bed, snuggly blankets, soft lighting and a soft place to rest your weary head in the run up to bed time. Here’s our prescription for a good night’s sleep…