Nutritionist and sleep expert Rob Hobson shares his top sleeping tips to help us all wake up feeling rested and refreshed.
“The one thing that has made a huge difference to the way I sleep is focusing on my bedroom environment,” Hobson tells Stylist.
“I’m notoriously messy, but it wasn’t until I cleaned up my act that I realised how all the piles of clothes, cluttered wardrobes and junk under my bed were affecting my ability to sleep.
“Non-sleepers are hypersensitive to any distraction; even the smallest of things can become a focus of obsession when trying to fall asleep. Focusing on creating a calm and tidy sleep oasis has been a major factor in helping me to get my sleep back on track.
“While these tips may seem obvious, many of us don’t put them into action and it’s this failure to act that may be hijacking your ability to get a good night’s kip. Taking these tips on board can help you to create an environment that invites you sleep.”
Here are Hobson’s top sleep tips to help you wake up feeling rested and refreshed, every morning.
1. Get organised
Mess equals stress, so start by organising your wardrobes to help quieten the effect of ‘visual noise’. Don’t leave clothes lying around your room or spilling out of laundry baskets, as this creates a sense of disorganisation which can contribute to anxiety.
Free space in your wardrobes by removing and storing clothes seasonally, such as winter coats in the spring. Don’t use the space under your bed as a dumping ground. Invest in proper boxes that can be used as storage under the bed but can also be accessed easily if needed.
Another good tip is laying out your clothes for the following day, which can help lessen any stress in the morning.
2. Invest in a good mattress
This is a huge outlay, but the surface you sleep on is incredibly important for promoting a good night’s rest. For this reason, it pays to invest.
Many people attribute back and neck pain, stiffness and other aches as a reason for not sleeping well, and these can all be linked to your mattress.
An old mattress may also cause a runny nose, sneezing or coughing from a build-up of allergens and dust. You should try and replace your mattress every 7-10 years. Do your research to find the most comfortable mattress and always go for the largest size possible, especially if you share your bed with a partner.
3. Invest in quality bedding
Choose breathable cotton bedding, to help maintain a steady body temperature which contributes to sleep quality, and always make sure it’s hypoallergenic, as this can help ward off allergies which can disrupt sleep and encourage snoring.
You don’t need a cupboard full of bedding, so spend as much as you can afford on just a few sets. Make sure you choose the right weight duvet to regulate body temperature such as 13.5 tog during winter and 4.5 tog during summer (invest in a duvet with two togs clipped together). Hitting the sales is the best way to accrue good quality bedding at an affordable price.
4. Wash your bedding regularly
Absolutely nothing is more inviting than a freshly laundered bed with plumped up pillows and duvet. Just the thought of it makes you want to jump right in and go to sleep.
I wash my bedding twice a week, as I know on the days my bed is freshly made I will get the best night’s sleep. I use plenty of fabric softener and Vanish in the wash to keep my sheets soft, scented and white bright which is my personal preference. This is a strategy used by professional sports people, some of whom are given fresh sheets every night.
5. Ditch all electrical equipment
My view is that your bedroom should dedicated to sleep, and electrical equipment can deter sleep in many ways.
Blue light emitted from TVs, laptops and phones can inhibit the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Keeping your bedroom free of clutter helps to create a more tranquil sleep environment.
Standby lights on this equipment can also become a focus of attention if you struggle to sleep. If you use an electric alarm clock, then keep it faced down as this can also be really distracting if you’re struggling to sleep.
6. Think about lighting
Firstly, try to block out all light by using curtains or black-out blinds, which also help to block out street noise. Light not only affects your ability to sleep by way of melatonin production, but is also really distracting if you’re struggling to sleep at night.
Stick to bedside lamps fitted with dimmer switches, and incandescent bulbs to minimise your exposure to bright light. Red light has the least impact on melatonin production. I have a string of red novelty lights on the headboard of my bed which offer just enough light to read, but these are not to everyone’s taste!
The Art of Sleeping by Rob Hobson is published by HQ on 14th November.