Sleeptember is an annual campaign organised by The Sleep Charity which aims to raise awareness of the importance of a good night's sleep and how to achieve it!
Sleep is essential for our wellbeing. A lack of sleep impacts attention span, behaviour, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health. Despite this, as a nation we are not getting enough sleep.
Thankfully, there are some things we can do to try to increase the amount and quality of our sleep:
Establish a bedtime routine
The routine should ideally start at the same time every night, and should start early enough to allow you to get around 8 hours of sleep (some people may require more or less sleep, be sure to tailor your routine to suit your specific needs). Establishing and maintaining good sleep habits helps you to fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up rested and refreshed.
Dim lights before bed
Light exposure is the most disruptive external factor affecting sleep. As far as possible before sleeping, aim to use warm lighting that is less likely to disturb the brain’s internal clock.
Stop use of electronics before bed
Blue light, found in many digital devices, has a short wavelength that stimulates sensors in the eyes and sends signals to the brain, tricking it into thinking it is daytime. Limiting the use of electronics/screens at least an hour before bed can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Body temperature helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, and our body temperature drops as we wind down for sleep. There are many ways to control temperature before bedtime, starting with turning down the thermostat. Many experts recommend keeping the bedroom at a cool 18 °C. You can also try switching out your children’s bedding with duvets, blankets or quilts made from materials that will keep them cool, such as DermaTherapy Bedding. The lightweight fabric is woven from fibres with unique cross-sections that create micro-channels to wick heat and moisture away from the skin, regulating temperature throughout the night.
Try to avoid vigorous activities too close to bedtime, as it can raise your body temperature and keep you awake. Aim to exercise earlier in the day to ensure a better night’s sleep.
Cut down on caffeine
Caffeine blocks sleep inducing chemicals and increases adrenaline production, reducing sleep quality. The Sleep Charity recommend avoiding caffeine 8 hours before bed.