How to sleep better
Get a good night’s sleep and improve your quality of life.
Sleep is critical for maintaining a healthy immune system, regulating our hormones and appetite, maximising cognitive performance, allowing muscle repair and regulating our mood. In short, the quality and quantity of sleep we get has a huge influence on our overall quality of life.
When we are uncomfortable, our quality of sleep is disturbed, which is why choosing the right bed and accessories is essential.
To start with, a clean, well-considered and thoughtfully designed bedroom is thought to improve mood and induce relaxation, thereby improving the quality of your sleep.
Your bed should be at least 15 cm longer than the tallest person sleeping on it. Width-wise, typically more space equals more comfort; however, room size is also important and you want around 90cm on each side to avoid feeling cramped. As a general rule, a bedroom should be 1 part bed, 3 parts bedroom to feel ‘right’.
Bed height also important as getting into and out of a bed every day that’s too high or too low will place unnecessary strain on your body. If you can sit on your bed with your feet flat on the floor and your thighs parallel to the ground, your bed is the right height.
When you sleep, your brain is aware of your body’s pressure on the bed and will make you roll over to reduce the pressure if required. This disturbs your sleep, even if you don’t wake up (ever had a night where you slept through but tossed and turned and woke up feeling exhausted?). A good mattress will comfortably support your body and reduce the need for you to change position as you sleep, so you’ll wake up feeling refreshed. The ideal mattress depends on your weight, health and sleeping position, and will support your spine, neck and head:
- If you sleep on your belly, you want a firm mattress to keep your spine aligned
- If you sleep on your back, a medium mattress will support for your spine, back and neck
- If you sleep on your side, a soft mattress will best support the contours of your body.
You can also choose the type of mattress and base you prefer. Generally speaking, spring mattresses work best with spring bases, while foam or latex mattresses work best with flat or slatted bases..
Pillows and blankets
Choosing a pillow based on your sleeping position helps facilitate a stress-free body alignment – your body should be in a midline position with your head and neck straight.
- If you sleep on your belly, soft flat pillows (synthetic wool fibre, polyester, feathers or down) minimise neck strain
- If you sleep on your back, medium to firm pillows (especially foam or latex ones) provide the best support
- If you sleep on your side, contour pillows (latex or foam) are good if your neck is thinner than your head, otherwise a firm pillow will ensure your spine is supported properly.
Choose your blankets wisely as being too hot or too cold causes sleep disturbances. Most experts recommend a room temperature of around 18-19 degrees, with a light to medium-warmth blanket made of soft fabric. Don’t overheat yourself, so take car with heavy blankets and doonas – layering up is usually more effective and gives you more control over your temperature.
When all is said and done, the above are guidelines only. If you’re waking up feeling alert and refreshed, and free of aches and pains, then you can be confident that you’ve got the right bed.
The information in this section has been prepared as general information only without consideration for your particular investment objectives, financial circumstances or particular needs. Read the full disclaimer.