As we enter the third semester, Life&Style writer Matthew Magill looks back on what UoB students were getting up to before the stress of exams kicked inWritten by Matthew Magill on 26th April 2017
‘Clean sleeping’: how to get the best night’s sleep
Life&Style writer Charlotte Gill discusses the new 'clean sleeping' trend and how to get the best night's sleep
I know, it was ‘clean eating’ and now ‘clean sleeping’…what next, you ask! But don’t be worried, clean sleeping is very easy to get on board with as it simply involves getting more, better-quality sleep. Winner, winner! The term itself appears to have come from none other than health guru Gwyneth Paltrow. Ever one for some wacky tips, this time much of what she says echoes what we already know about sleep.
That all-important shuteye
The NHS suggests that adults need between 6 and 9 hours sleep. Think about how much sleep you get and ask yourself if it is enough: you may get 7 hours per night but do you actually feel awake in the morning? If, like me, you are precious about your sleep and like to go to bed early to get at least 9 hours, this does not make you a granny! Go with what is best for you, at least this granny gets a good night’s sleep.
Tips to try
Sadly, most of us do not have enough money to invest in a copper pillow, or enough time or skill to give ourselves a foot and head massage each night before bed as good old Gwynny recommends but there are still many easy steps you can take to get your 40 winks:
- Remember it’s important to wind down. Don’t expect to whirlwind your way through the day and drop straight to sleep. Avoid vigorous exercise after 8pm if possible. A warm bath can help to get your body to an ideal temperature for rest.
- Reading a book or listening to the radio is relaxing and does not involve looking at bright lights from electronic devices which inhibit the release of melatonin, making it harder for us to get to sleep. So, as tempting as it is to have that one last Insta scroll, try to limit using your devices after 10pm or at least 30 minutes before you go to bed.
- Make sure your room is as dark as possible. If you’ve got a dodgy blind that your landlord won’t fix then invest in an eye mask. It will be your BFF and block out any light. Earplugs are also a must for good quality sleep.
- Really try to limit caffeine intake after 2pm as this can prevent deep sleep and potentially keep you awake. It’s not all bad, though, as having a warm, milky drink or a herbal tea before bed is a good idea.
- Often when your mind is busy thinking and planning, it is hard to enter into the land of nod. Write a list of things you need to do so that they’re not racing around your head in bed. Perhaps keep a pen and paper on your bedside table so that if you think of something you’re not kept awake trying to remember it.
Routine, routine, routine
It is hard as a student with an ever-changing schedule to go to bed and get up at a regular time but this really helps your body to get into a routine, meaning you get to sleep quicker and wake up feeling more refreshed. Sleep apparently works in 90 minute cycles, which is why 10.30pm is viewed as no. 1 bedtime because it allows your body 90 minutes of resting and restoring before midnight. It is not recommended to leave the weekend for sleep ‘catch up’ as this makes your poor tired body feel a bit confused. Even keeping a routine for several days in a row can help you feel more refreshed.
Keeping track of those z’s
Finally, keeping a sleep diary is a great way to monitor your sleeping habits and see how they could be changed for the better. There are many out there but one I have used is Sleep Cycle. For the 306 nights I used the app, I spent a whopping 16 weeks in bed (told you I liked sleep). It monitors noise to track your sleep, recording awake, light sleep and deep sleep phases. You can even set a ‘waking up window’ so the app wakes you up during your lightest phase of sleep within this time, meaning you feel more awake when your alarm goes off.