Hunter Valley News

5 Essential tips for improving nightly sleep quality

Here are 5 essential tips you should implement straight away. Picture Shutterstock
Here are 5 essential tips you should implement straight away. Picture Shutterstock

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If you are having trouble sleeping and find yourself constantly tossing and turning at night, then rest assured, you are not alone.

According to the Sleep Health Foundation, around 26 per cent of Aussie men and 40 per cent of women have difficulty sleeping on a regular basis.

Good quality sleep is something we all need, so not getting it is a problem. That said, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of a deep, restorative and uninterrupted slumber.

Here are 5 essential tips you should implement straight away.

1. Wear a CPAP mask

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition that affects about 5 per cent of Australians. It is characterised by breathing patterns that stop and start repeatedly and manifests in symptoms such as snoring loudly and perpetual fatigue - even after a full night's sleep.

The condition is more common in men, with one in every four blokes over the age of 30 suffering from it. Obesity and smoking are two major contributory factors.

For those afflicted with the condition (and their partners and family who share the household with them), it can be incredibly frustrating. Thankfully, if you find yourself in this position, one of the most effective ways of tackling sleep apnea is with CPAP therapy using a CPAP machine from a provider like CPAP Direct.

A CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine delivers mild air pressure to help the sufferer's breathing airways remain open during sleep. It is often prescribed by sleep specialists and other healthcare professionals to treat the condition, along with other sleep-related breathing disorders.

2. Create a consistent bedtime routine

Regardless of whether your sleep issues are related to sleep apnea or not, it is important to do everything you can to get between 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep every night.

One good way to do this is to create a consistent bedtime routine. This should involve going to bed around the same time every night and doing similar things prior to attempting to sleep. For instance, playing soft music, reading for half an hour or meditating will all help you to wind down and signal to your mind and body that it is time for sleep.

As tempting as it might be, try not to watch TV or look at any of your devices for at least an hour before bedtime. A mix of blue light and mental stimulation just before closing your eyes is not conducive to quickly falling asleep.

3. Make changes to your lifestyle

If you want better sleep, you should consider making some lifestyle changes, particularly if you are overweight, smoke, drink excessive amounts of coffee or alcohol or live a sedentary existence.

All of these factors can contribute to sleep deprivation, which can lead to other health issues. Therefore, it would be within your interest to eat a healthy, balanced diet, do a minimum of half an hour's exercise or moderate-intensity activity every day, quit smoking immediately and reduce your intake of alcohol and caffeine.

By modifying your lifestyle in this way, you will go a long way towards improving the overall quality and length of your sleep.

4. Buy a better mattress

Perhaps your sleep issues are related to your current mattress. If so, investing in a good quality one might make a world of difference.

Should you decide to buy a new one, it is worth remembering that you get what you pay for. Subsequently, don't be afraid to fund a purchase for a premium price mattress that offers optimal levels of support, comfort and firmness.

5. Stress less

Stress can be a major contributory factor as to why people can't sleep, often because they are still mentally processing challenging situations from the day or ongoing traumas as they lay down at night.

Essentially, the higher the level of stress you incur, the more it can curtail your ability to fall asleep. For this reason, you should try and stress less.

Obviously, this is easier said than done. However, there are some strategies you can implement to reduce its impact. They include seeking professional counselling, practising deep breathing techniques or yoga, exercising and taking steps to remove toxic people from your life.

All of these actions will help you to better process and deal with the causes of your stress and, therefore, make it more likely that you will sleep.