The more I read about the importance of sleep in our lives, the more it strikes me that we are really careless in the way we approach our sleep. Poor sleeping habits have been linked to all kinds of detrimental effects, including weakened immunity, increased chance of obesity, cardiovascular conditions and even decreased libido. We should therefore be really mindful of how we approach our sleep.  

And yet, we don’t. We spend a third of our lives sleeping, but replacing our bed every ten years or so is almost a grudge purchase. Compare that to how much time, effort and money we spend on the perfect car, even though we spend much less time in it. We should all be kinder to our bodies when we sleep, and that starts with setting ourselves up for the perfect night’s rest.  

Below are some tips to prepare for a restful slumber.

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  1. Create the right environment 

The best way to get the most out of your night is to prepare your sleeping environment for nothing else but sleep. The two main things you can control is light and temperature. The room should be as dark as possible, as even a bit of light can lead to a less restful sleep. If you can, it is also a good idea to get the temperature of the room right. Somewhere between 60 and 70 degrees should be fine, but the most important thing is that you feel comfortable. Some sleep experts also recommend some white noise, but that is down to personal preference.  

2. Get in the mood 

Just as we wind down at work after a difficult year heading into the holidays, we should wind down our day to get our minds and bodies prepared for sleep. Caffeine is certainly a no-no, even if you think it doesn’t affect you. Studies have shown increased brain activity for people who drink caffeine before going to bed, which translates into lower sleep quality and fatigue. It is also a good idea to get rid of screen time for at least half an hour before going to sleep, as this can overstimulate the brain and make it harder to fall into a deep sleep.  

3. Get into the groove 

One of the most important aspects of good sleeping patterns is repeating that pattern. If you are not going to bed at the same time each night, you make it exceedingly difficult for your body to adjust and give you what you need. I know that new parents are probably screaming at their screens at the moment, asking how that is even possible! I know that there are times and situations in one’s life when there is no choice but to disrupt these patterns, but as long as they are the exception and not the norm (hang in there, new parents!) your body will thank you in the long run.