How to sleep deeper and wake up happy How to sleep deeper and wake up happy

How to sleep deeper and wake up happy

The secret to getting a good night’s sleep starts from the moment you wake up. Here’s how you can make good days lead to better nights.

You’re in bed, duvet snuggled cosily around your neck, legs foetus-like, eyelids drifting until – ting! – can you believe the comment that stranger madearlier? You also forgot to call the bank and, crikey, it’s your sister’s birthday tomorrow.   

Within seconds, your job, your family and a financial crisis have joined you in the sackAccording to the NHS, a third of us will experience insomnia (problems getting to sleep or staying asleep for long enough to feel refreshed the next day)with causes spanning medical conditions such as stress, shift work, plus lifestyle factors like late-night news alerts, notifications, and your brain whirring like a washing machine’s spin cycle.  

An entire industry around sleep-health has emerged, counting pounds as well as sheep  the sector was valued at $30 to $40 million in 2017i – and launching nocturnal aids from sleep trackers to temperature-adjusting mattresses 

No wonder we all want more of it!


However, sleep is about more than eight hours of shuteye. “Your body gets primed for sleep all day,” agrees sleep doctor Dr Michael Breus, author of The Power of When. And a good night’s sleep helps reduce stress, improves memory, lowers blood pressure, helps your body fight off infection and puts you in aoverall better mood.  

This is how to accrue sleep during your hours awake 

8am: Become a daylight addict 

Bright light regulates your body clock“After dawn, outdoor light is 50-100 times brighter than office lightingBy noon, 500-1000 times,” reveals Russell Foster, Professor of Circadian Neuroscience at the University of Oxford. So, eat breakfast by a window, take breaks outside, and always bag that window seat.  

1pm: Take a walk 

new study in Sleep Healthii found that the more steps people racked up by day, the better their sleep quality 

4pm: Sip your last coffee 
Coffee revs up the nervous system, interfering with your wind-down. A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicineiii found that caffeine consumed six hours before bed still disrupted sleep. 

5pm: Write away your whirring
Sleep scuppered by a brain in planning modeLong before bed, write it all down. This paper-based purge should relax your inner worrier. 

6pm: Reduce blue light from devices 

This tricks your brain into thinking its still daytime – bad news. Apps like F.Lux and Iris block screens’ blue light at night.  

6.30pm: Finish intense workouts 3-4 hours before bed 

Exercise’s increased alertness is not your friend at 1am. Move workouts earlier, or go low-impact – i.e. yin yogastretching 

7.30pm: Eat two hours ahead of lights out 

Ideally earlier. Avoid heavy, rich, spicy or acidic foods, which can cause stomach trouble and heartburn. Foods like almonds, walnuts, kiwis and fatty fishes can enhance your sleep quality.  

9pm: Skip social media 90 minutes before bed
Ditto emails and stimulating Netflix shows, which are all designed to keep you up and on. Relax: The Crown will still be there tomorrow.  

9.15pm: Have a bath
Researchiv shows the tub can improve how deeply you snooze. In fact, just soaking your feet in hot water can help you drop off fasterv 
10pm: Go easy on liquids 

Nocturia is the official term for peeing more than once during the night, which is oh-so annoying. (Though good knowledge for pub quizzes). Cut back on fluids 12 hours before bed. 

12am: Beware sleep trackers 

Wearable bands, plus ‘nearables’ that you pop on your bedside table, monitor your sleep and give feedback. But new thinking is that they could make sleeplessness worse, via a pre-bed anxiety called ‘orthosomnia’ – paranoia about achieving perfect sleepObsessing? It’s OK to snooze the very tech that’s supposed to help you.  

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Cook your way to happiness