Whether you’re getting eight hours’ sleep or you’re scrambling to squeeze in five, preparation is the key to making the most of your snooze time.
And that’s especially true for those of us juggling multiple things: work, children and general life. Unfortunately, though, these realities mean we don’t always prioritise the need for consistently good quality shut-eye.
According to Dr. Maree Barnes from the Institute for Breathing and Sleep at Melbourne’s Austin Hospital, establishing a daily routine to help your body and mind unwind will help you get the best sleep you can, consistently.
“Make sure that the behaviours you indulge in prior to going to bed are not going to impact your ability to get to sleep,” she says.
“Have a little routine that you do for half an hour before you go to bed so it’s pretty much the same thing every night … Whatever it is, it doesn’t really matter, so long as it’s a calming time.”
The Sleep Health Foundation recommends setting aside some ‘worry time’ earlier in the day. Using this time to think about the day’s problems and a possible solution will help calm your thoughts and ready you for sleep that night.
Barnes also recommends avoiding caffeine and exercise before bed. And while it may be tempting to pour yourself a glass of wine to ‘relax’ at the end of a long day, this can affect the routine. It may help you get to sleep, but it will make it harder to stay asleep.
Sleeping well also means putting away the laptop or iPad half an hour before bed, as well as removing televisions, phones and bright alarm clocks from the bedroom.
“Try to optimise the environment in which you’re sleeping so it’s quiet, dark, and comfortable, with a good temperature,” says Barnes.