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Five tips for getting a good night’s sleep

24 Aug 2018

tips to sleep well

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Tips for a sweet slumber

Approximately one quarter of New Zealand adults under 60 years of age have reported having experienced sleeping issues lasting at least six months.

When you don’t get enough sleep or are sleeping poorly, this can increase your risk of health issues (such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and diabetes), affects overall performance and safety and has even been linked to depression and negative risk-taking behaviour.

So if your slumber hasn’t been so sweet, take note of the following tips:

1. Track your sleep patterns

The ideal amount of sleep varies from person to person, so a great place to start is by recording the number of hours you get each night, and how you feel the next day. This is super easy if you have a smartwatch like the Fitbit Versa, which can even detect sleep stages and track your quality of sleep.

If you notice you feel more energised on a weekend when you sleep in, it might be time to go to bed earlier during the week, and if you’re getting a consistent nine hours but still feel sluggish, this might be a bit too much.

2. Turn the lights off

TV, phone and tablet screens all emit a blue light which delays the natural production of melatonin – a hormone critical to regulating our sleep cycles and making us sleepy. When we expose ourselves to blue light, it instead increases our levels of cortisone, a stress hormone that keeps us awake and alert.

A study on New Zealand adolescents showed a one hour increase in technology use during the evening increased the odds of poor sleep efficiency by 20%. So, if it takes you a while to fall asleep at night, it could be as simple as turning your TV or phone off earlier.

3. Get your body moving

Did you know that regular exercise not only keeps you in good shape, but has also been proven to help you sleep better at night? Studies have shown you can improve your sleep quality by 65 per cent, just by doing 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

That’s equivalent to just 50 minutes of cycling, mopping, vacuuming, gardening or brisk walking three times a week!

4. Cut down on the coffee

It’s hard to admit, but too much coffee will upset your ability to sleep soundly. Caffeine has a half-life of five to seven hours, so a full cup of coffee at three pm is the equivalent of half a cup at nine pm – which would be an unusual nightly routine.

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Don’t worry, you don’t need to give up your morning brew completely. However, it is recommended that you reduce caffeine intake in general and cut the coffee from 12pm onwards.

5. Consistency is key

Even on the weekends, it’s good to maintain regular wake and sleep times. If you have trouble getting up in the morning with traditional alarms, try a silent alarm to wake you up with vibrations instead.

And we know getting to sleep straight away isn’t always the easiest, so it’s good to get into a habit of winding down approximately 30 to 60 minutes before you want to doze off. Set a bedtime reminder and use this time to relax, have a bath, chat with your partner, or read a book.

This article was produced in collaboration with Fitbit.

Important things to know

Information correct as at September 2018