DR. BARBARA STURM
We spend about a third of our lives in bed – and with good reason. Sleep is our superfuel. It keeps us happy and relaxed. It helps us retain memories. It wards off coughs and colds. It even protects us from chronic illnesses. It’s no wonder, then, that we’re all obsessed with getting a good night’s kip. From choosing the best bedding to sleep-hygiene tips, allow us to help you get some quality shuteye...
The importance of a good pre-bed routine cannot be stressed enough. Light a scented candle. Soak in a hot bath. Indulge in a luxurious skincare routine. You’ll form positive associations with bedtime and find it easier to get to sleep.
DR. BARBARA STURM
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Regulate your circadian rhythm by waking up at the same time each day – even on the weekend. That means no snooze button. Instead, try using a sunrise alarm clock to slowly (but surely) wake you up at the same time every morning with a gradually brightening light.
Not only will 30 minutes of sunlight every morning make you feel more alert, it can also help you sleep better at night. Daylight triggers serotonin (the happy hormone), which helps your body create melatonin (the sleep hormone) when it’s time to go to sleep.
Caffeine has a half-life of about six hours, and a quarter-life of 12 hours. This means that if you have a cup of coffee at midday it will still be in your system at midnight. It may not stop you going to sleep, but it will affect the quality of your slumber, reducing the amount of deep sleep you get by about 20%.
Exercise reduces anxiety and tires your body out – both good for sleep. And if you’re well rested, you’re more likely to exercise. It’s a win-win. So get on that Technogym bike! But try not to exercise less than 2–3 hours before bed.
Tip 6: Get comfortable
The Edit: Land of Nod
Alcohol disturbs your REM sleep and reduces the brain’s ability to retain memories, so cutting down could help you get better quality sleep. If you enjoy the ritual of cocktail hour, try swapping your Martini for a non-alcoholic spirit.
Turn off all of your devices at least one hour before you intend to go to sleep and wear blue-light-blocking glasses after dusk. Blue light has been shown to reduce melatonin levels by 50%, making it difficult to drift off.
Optimum room temperature for sleep is around 18°C. Something to bear in mind when choosing your bedding. Most experts agree natural fibres are best for hot sleepers as they’re the most breathable.