How to sleep better: 9 tips

Thursday, 11 June 2020 by Vision Direct

        Woman stretching after a good night’s sleep

Like it or not, we spend a third of our life sleeping. It helps rejuvenate our bodies and minds, and has a big impact on the other two thirds of our lives that we spend awake. So, why do we often forget the importance of a good night’s sleep?

In today’s fast-moving world, people tend to get less and worse-quality of sleep. In the UK alone, more than 60% of adults suffer from the effects of disrupted sleep. Having sleepless nights is often an overlooked issue, as there’s a collective perception that while we’d like to sleep for longer, it’s not exactly necessary. However, the reality is that a good night’s sleep can work wonders for your mental and physical well-being, as well as your eye health.

What are the benefits of a good night’s sleep?

Sleeping increases your quality of life in many ways:

  • It improves your work performance, sporting ability, social and sex life
  • It’s good for your memory and concentration
  • It makes your eyes look fresh (especially when you use eye drops and don’t sleep with your contacts in)
  • It can help you avoid age-related health conditions, such as glaucoma
  • It strengthens your immune system
  • It helps you maintain a healthy weight
  • It’s good for your heart
  • It’s good for your skin

Why can’t I sleep?

Tired man yawns

Insomnia can have multiple causes and occur with varying intensity. If we exclude causes such as depression and health conditions, or the use of substances such as alcohol, drugs and smoking, in most cases it depends on common psychological factors such as bad habits, anxiety and stress.

If these causes sound all too familiar, don’t fear: it only takes a few actions and a bit of willpower to start enjoying a good night’s sleep starting tonight.

How much sleep do I need?

You will have heard it a thousand times from your parents, your grandparents or even experts on TV: you need those all-important 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. This is correct, but there are also individual factors to keep in mind.

The time it takes to fall into deeper sleep can vary from person to person, both in terms of your natural body clock, but also your lifestyle. So you need to pay attention to how your body functions to find out how much rest is good for you. For example, if you wear monthly lenses but feel like your solution routine is taking up a lot of your time, switching to daily contact lenses would benefit you. It’s all about being in tune with yourself - once you understand that, you’ll instantly reap the rewards of a good night’s sleep.

So, how can I sleep better?

No need for sleeping pills or unhealthy shortcuts: most of the time, changing your lifestyle by introducing some good habits is all you need to improve your sleeping habits. What are the factors that increase the chances of sleeping well? We’ve put together a few tips to help you rediscover the true meaning of a good night’s sleep.

Dog sleeps under the blanket
  1. Exercise: making exercise part of your regular routine can contribute to healthier, more restful sleep. But there’s a catch: don’t exercise too late in the evening, because the adrenaline can keep you up. And don’t overdo it with the intensity, as overtraining could worsen your sleep quality.
  2. Get into good habits: sleep is an integral part of your internal body clock as it helps your brain benchmark the day, so integrating it into your daily routine is key. Creating a regular pattern of eating, working, exercising, socialising and sleeping will help you enjoy life more and switch off after a long day.
  3. Eat well and at the right time: we know this might be an eye roll moment - but don’t worry, this isn’t about setting impossible goals. Because bodily functions work best when they’re in tandem, experts think that eating late can confuse your internal clock and digestive system. Try to have a balanced diet with the right nutritional values - and go easy on the carbs, as they’ll make it harder to power down.
  4. Bedtime, not screen time: TV, computer and phone screens do not only contain the so-called blue light that can be harmful to your eyes, but they also trick your brain into thinking it’s still daylight outside. Which brings us to our next point:
  5. Free your mind: rediscover the pleasure of reading a book, listening to relaxing music or a podcast, taking a nice long bath, or simply listening to your breathing (by switching on your mindfulness mode!).
  6. Use the right mattress: oh yes, your mattress matters. But there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all mattress – it depends on your taste, your weight and your sleep habits. Those who sleep on their back tend to prefer a hard mattress, whereas those who sleep on their side or on their front tend to prefer a softer one. One thing is certain, older mattresses may have lost their original features, so they are more likely to be uncomfortable. If you suspect that your mattress contributes to your insomnia, prepare yourself for a Saturday afternoon at Ikea.
  7. Paint it pitch-black: your surroundings influence your ability to fall asleep. Complete darkness can be like a lullaby, whereas sleeping with the TV on or the curtains half-drawn will certainly not help you fall asleep. Also, make sure that the temperature of your bedroom is right for you.
  8. No drinks before going to sleep: the last thing you want is to wake up with the urge to go to the bathroom. Avoid drinking anything in the last hour before going to sleep, even if it’s a chamomile tea (although it does have relaxing properties). Plus, avoid drinking alcohol, tea or coffee in the evening, as they’re particularly known for their diuretic and stimulating properties.
  9. Don’t sleep with contact lenses: it’s one of the most frequent mistakes among lens wearers. Sleeping with your lenses causes dry, itchy eyes and other eye health woes that you’d probably like to avoid. It’s difficult to enjoy a good night’s sleep whilst wearing lenses - well, unless you use extended wear contacts. These types of lenses are designed to be worn day and night, assuring crisp vision as soon as you wake up. Some of the best brands are Biofinity and Air Optix Night & Day Aqua, both for myopia or hyperopia. Before trying this wearing pattern, we advise you to speak to an optician to find out if your eyes are compatible with this type of lens.
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