IT’S dark and freezing outside and dragging ourselves through winter is making us long for bed all day.
So why, when it’s finally time to hit the sack, is it so hard to drift off?
Sleep expert Holly Housby, from Sealy UK, has all the answers and shares her top five tips.
Take a bath
Light a candle, pour loads of bubbles and run a hot bath.
Not only will you be in a far more relaxed state, but sinking in to hot water to wash the day away and mentally unwind can help promote sleep.
Here’s the sciencey bit: Your temperature naturally dips at night as your body prepares for rest, which starts to happen around two hours before sleep.
By soaking in a hot bath, your temperature rises by a degree or two, and the rapid cool-down immediately after the bath imitates this natural decrease of your body temperature, which can help you to fall asleep faster.
Time to bulk buy Radox.
Ditch your cotton socks and wear woollen
Often, poor circulation means our feet are the first part of our body to get cold.
Wearing woollen socks can help to keep us warm throughout the night – unlike cotton, wool is a great insulator and retains heat.
Even better, wool has anti-bacterial properties meaning your cosy socks are odour resistant. Hat’s not to love?
Although winter’s lethargy might make a session in the gym sound like torture, you’ll reap the benefits of even a teensy bit of daytime physical at bed time.
Exercising in the late-afternoon and early evening can help to boost your body’s circulation and body temperature. But steer clear of exercise in the hour before bed as getting the adrenaline pumping this late will steal some of your sleep.
Say no to a night-cap
It might seem a sacrifice too far, but declining that tempting little nightcap will boost your beauty sleep.
Because not only does alcohol limit the amount of time you spend in deep REM sleep, the most restorative stage of sleep, it’s been suggested that alcohol can actually contribute to a lower body temperature. This is because alcohol causes your blood vessels to dilate, which takes blood and heat away from the core of your body.
Here comes the better news: if you still want to enjoy a nightcap in the evening, make sure you only have one, and have it as early in the evening as possible to minimise its effects at bedtime.
Upgrade your TOG
It doesn’t take a genius to know that investing in a thick, cosy duvet is going to keep us warmer in winter nights.
But do you know which TOG – a guide to thermal insulance – is best for these colder months?
As a rule of thumb, a winter duvet should have a tog rating of 13.5 – 15. However, it’s also worth considering the filling.
Wool-filled duvets can be quite chunky, making a good choice the cold nights. But synthetic duvets made from fibres and specially designed to extra warmth can be a great hypo-allergenic options.
So, let’s get counting sheep.
For more tips, visit www.sealy.co.uk