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Hit reset on your sleep in the new year with these healthy bedtime habits.
The start of a new year is a time for both reflecting and planning, with many of us setting new goals for the months ahead. According to a nationally representative survey conducted by Finder, in 2023, 71 per cent of Australians set New Year’s resolutions – most of which centred around health and fitness. Rest and leisure were common themes too, with 18 percent of people saying they wanted to get more sleep in the future.
While it’s often overlooked, sleep is fundamental to achieving and maintaining good health and wellness. Unfortunately, not getting enough sleep is a problem many people face – with an estimated four in 10 Australians regularly experiencing inadequate sleep.
Setting yourself up for a good night's rest can be as simple as changing some of your daily habits and adjusting your sleep environment. Read on for a few tips on improving your sleep quality in 2024…
Preparing for a good night’s sleep starts from the moment you wake up. Here are some healthy habits you can cultivate during the day.
First, it’s important to get out and about, as research suggests that exposure to natural light (especially in the morning) improves sleep quality later on. Why? Because sunlight affects melatonin production, which is crucial for regulating your sleep-wake cycle. Exposure to natural light signals to your brain that you should be awake and alert, causing a drop in melatonin. In the evening, about two hours before you go to sleep, your melatonin levels begin to rise again, and you start to feel drowsy.
Regular physical activity improves many aspects of health, including sleep. According to Sleep Disorders Australia (SDA) “exercise can influence both sleep quality and quantity”, which is why they recommend getting at least 20-30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day. Ideally, you should do a mixture of aerobic exercise (such as walking or swimming) and resistance exercise (such as weight training or pilates).
As tempting as it is to reach for a coffee when you’re experiencing an afternoon slump, consuming caffeine even a few hours before bedtime can affect your sleep. For this reason, you should try to limit your caffeine intake – whether it’s tea, coffee, soft drinks or chocolate – in the afternoon, and avoid it entirely for at least four hours before bed.
For those of you who are thinking an evening glass of wine is the perfect antidote, we’ve got news for you. Alcohol might help you drift off, but it actually disrupts your sleep patterns – especially in the second half of the night. Not only can it cause more frequent wakings and night sweats, it generally makes you feel less rested. It’s best to avoid drinking alcohol at least four hours before bed, too.
Finally, if you’re partial to an afternoon nap, try to keep it short and sweet. A quick (power/cat/disco) nap can help improve your alertness and concentration, but anything longer than 30 minutes can make it much harder to fall asleep at your regular bedtime. Avoid napping in the evening altogether.
Make the hour or two before bed sacred. When you’re ready to wind down from your day, a relaxing routine will help prepare you for a good night’s sleep.
Your sleep routine could include:
Going to bed at a similar time every day keeps your internal body clock in check. A regular sleep schedule will help your body recognise when it’s time to sleep and make it easier to doze off.
Your bedroom is your sanctuary and should be set up for sleep. It’s important to invest in a mattress, pillows and bedding that are comfortable and provide you with the support you need.
Partial to a firm mattress? Try the Forty Winks Serta Avant Garde Bellucci Mattress, Firm, which has a Memory Foam Plus comfort layer to support your body's pressure points. Prefer to feel like you're floating on a cloud? The Forty Winks King Koil Malibu Mattress, Plush conforms to your body shape and provides instant comfort. And if you’re looking for the perfect pillow accompaniment, Forty Winks Tempur Comfort Cloud Pillow, Memory Foam will contour to your head, neck and shoulders, cradling you for optimal comfort.
While there’s lots you can do before bed to improve your sleep, there may be things that happen during the night to disturb your slumber.
Do you lie awake with racing thoughts? You’re not alone. Stress can be a huge barrier to sleep. If you have concerns about work, family or anything else, the Mental Health Commission of Western Australia recommends scheduling in some ‘worry time’ before bed. This might involve jotting down some of the things that are making you feel anxious, brainstorming some solutions, and then telling yourself you’ll come back to them in the morning. It’s a good way to get all your worries out during the day so you don’t lie awake thinking about them at night.
Are you regularly disturbed by your partner’s tossing and turning? Consider a mattress that ensures minimal partner disturbance, such as the Forty Winks Crown Posture Bedding PostureAdvance Mattress. The Forty Winks Silent Partner Cosmopolitan Mattress also features a motion deflection barrier to minimise the transfer of movement.
Do you wake up frequently to the sound of snoring (either yours or your partner’s)? An adjustable bedframe is a great solution, as it can be positioned to improve breathing, increase blood flow and provide optimal support for sore joints and ailments. The Forty Winks Sealy Energise Adjustable Base even has an anti-snore position, while the Forty Winks Tempur Ergo Smart Adjustable base features sleep-tracker sensors that automatically detect snoring and raise the upper body by 12 degrees.
Here’s to the best year’s sleep in 2024!
Ready to get a better night’s sleep? Explore the Forty Winks product range here.