How to Have the Perfect Night's Rest, According to a Sleep Expert

Lauren Powell
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IN BED

Fact: Over 2.1 million Australians suffer from insomnia. In short: A good night’s sleep is never enjoyed by much of the population. And because we know that a lack of sleep can have a significant impact on our health, productivity, and mood, it’s important we do everything we can to give our body the rest it needs—and deserves.

Enter sleep expert Carmel Harrington from renowned bedding manufacturer A.H. Beard. Harrington has been working in the world of sleep for over 20 years and knows a thing or two about the secrets to getting a good night’s rest. Here, Harrington has revealed her top tips for getting the best shut-eye possible—insomniacs, get your notebooks (and pillows) ready. Read on to increase your chances at having one of the best night’s rest you’ve ever had.

Start a sleep diary

If you are experiencing sleep difficulties and don’t know why, it might be a good idea to start a sleep diary. Noting what you do before bedtime and how many hours sleep you get each night may help with identifying bad sleep habits.

Keep a worry diary

Many of us start to worry about the issues of the day as soon as we turn out the lights, and the end result is sleeplessness. To prevent this, take 10-15 minutes when you get home from work to write down anything concerning that has happened during the day that you haven’t had time to deal with. After no more than 15 minutes put the diary away in your handbag. That way you can go to bed worry free, knowing that you are organised to follow up any issues the next day.

Create a sleep sanctuary

The bedroom should be dark, quiet, and calm. Invest in appropriate bedding for the climate and try to keep noise to a minimum. Black out blinds and ear plugs can help. The optimal temperature for sleeping is around 18 degrees Celsius.

Pick the correct bedding

Many people suffer from poor sleep due to the state of their mattress and pillow. Your mattress should be giving you the correct support and postural alignment.

Exercise regularly but not within 3 hours of bedtime

Those who exercise regularly report having the best sleep. However exercising within a few hours of bedtime simply wakes the body up, making it difficult to sleep. So make sure you finish exercising by 7pm.

Create a pre-bed ritual

It is critically important to switch off all technology about an hour before bedtime. Create a bedtime ritual and use that hour to take a warm-hot shower, read a book or do a relaxation exercise. Stretching should be included in this pre-sleep routine as it helps to promote sleep and is often beneficial to those experiencing pain.

Eat for sleep

Stay away from heavy meals three hours before bed so the body has time to digest. Alcohol disrupts sleep so if you have trouble sleeping, refrain. Certain healthy foods calm your nervous system and trigger a sleep-inducing hormonal response, helping you rest better at night these include salmon, yoghurt, cherries and chickpeas. The old remedy of a glass of hot milk is still good advice.

Shop Australia’s first smart bed, Sleepsense by A.H Beard, which has built-in tracking technology to track your sleep journey, change mattress firmness, and a massage function (yes, please!). 

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