Many of us start the year with a long list of resolutions, often forgotten again by the end of January. If there is one resolution that we all can keep and that will make a real difference to our lives it’s to sleep better.
WHY SLEEP MATTERS?
Sleep doesn’t only impact our energy levels the next day it also impacts our wellbeing and mental health as well as our immune system and ability to fight off diseases.
If you sleep less than 7 hours a night you are 3 times more likely to get the common cold. And the less you sleep, the more at risk you are. Sleeping 5 hours or less makes you 70% more likely to contract pneumonia.
Being sleep deprived also impacts our performance at work or in school, it makes it more difficult to concentrate and makes us more likely to lose our patience and become irritable.
SO HOW WELL DO WE SLEEP?
A global survey with 11,000 adults from 12 countries clearly showed that the world is experiencing a sleep problem that needs to be addressed:
Over 60% don’t sleep well and 80% say that they want to sleep better.
We only sleep on average 6.8 hours of the recommend 8 hours on weekdays. Missing out on 1-2 hours a sleep per night can impact our motor and cognitive functions in the same ways as not sleeping for a full day or two.
49% of people don’t feel that they get enough sleep.
The current global pandemic is also having an adverse impact on our sleep.
Studies show that over a third of Americans report sleeping worse due to stressing about the COVID outbreak.
Top tips for sleeping better 2021
Some sleep problems require medical help however there is a lot of we can do ourselves to change some of our habits and radically improve our sleep. By being aware of how food, movement, stress levels, health, habits and our bedroom environment impacts our sleep we can make small changes that have a big impact.
food & drink
Some foods will put you to sleep but others will keep you tossing and turning, find out what to focus on for a good night’s sleep 2021.
- Know your snooze food
Food that contain or stimulate the release of melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep, can hel pus to sleep better. This includes olives, barley, tomatoes, walnuts, milk and cherries that are rich in melatonin. Another sleep aid is tryptophan, an essential amino acid that acts as a natural mood regulator and is the precursor to melatonin. Tryptophan is found in for example turkey, wild-caught fish and nuts like cashews and almonds. Bananas are another natural sleeping pill —not only do they contain tryptophan but also magnesium, a muscle and nerve relaxant which can help ensure that we don’t wake up with cramp or muscle pain.
- Stay clear of sleep killers
Some food and drinks can make it difficult to sleep, caffeine and alcohol are part of that list. If you still want to enjoy a glass of wine or coffee best to do it a few hours before going to bed. For the best sleep possible we should give our metabolism a break during the night which means that we should avoid food that is difficult to digest like for example high-fat or protein-rich foods, such as deep fried foods and red meat, just before going to bed. Strong spices make sleeping through more difficult as well.
- Find your food/drink balance
You don’t want to go to bed either too full or too hungry as this will make falling asleep difficult. If you get hungry during the night try to eat a small, light snack. Drinking too much before going to sleep can lead to disruptive middle-of-the-night bathroom trips.
By exercising regularly we can fall asleep faster and enjoy a better sleep quality. It can take a few weeks for the full effect to be shown but don’t despair, studies show that exercising can increase total sleep time by up to 1.25 hours, so hang in there!
- Sleep. Repeat—Make movement a habit
Exercising for at least 150 minutes a week can improve sleep quality by 65%. That might seem like a lot but try to get some low-intensity exercise on a daily basis, as little as 10 minutes of walking can make a big difference to the quality of our sleep.
- Move outside
By doing sports outside we get the dual effect of extra exposure to light. This helps our bodies vitamin D production which supports our health and immune system. It also helps us to keep our sleep-wake cycle on track so you sleep sounder at night.
- Time it right
You should do sports 4-6 hours before going to bed as intense exercise raise our core body temperature by up to 2°C making it difficult to fall asleep.
Stress is another sleep killer, the more we stress the less we sleep. And the more tired we are the more vulnerable we are to stress. We can beat the stress-sleep cycle by fighting the stress at the core as well as by creating a haven of calm in our bedroom.
- Beat the job stress
There is a clear correlation between stress at work and sleep disorders. People who don’t feel supported by their co-workers are twice as likely to suffer from sleeping disorders (35% versus 18%). The more stressed we are at work, the less we sleep. Improving a stressful work situation is hence key to sleep better and to live better.
- Make your bedroom a haven of peace
Leave your laptop, mobile phone and worries at the bedroom door. Try to switch off work earlier and clear your mind, you might even set an alarm for when you should get ready for bed time. If you can’t quiet your mind try to write a to-do list and set it aside for the next day. By keeping a pen and paper by the bedside we can also write down any new thoughts that appear and we don’t have to activate our brains trying to remember them.
- Try progressive muscle relaxation
If you find you can’t sleep due to stress, try progressive muscle relaxation. Work through your body from your toes to the tip of your head, tensing each of your muscles as tightly as you can and then relaxing them completely.
By creating sleep friendly habits we can make a real difference to our duration and quality of sleep:
- Turn off to turn in
Switch off all electronic gadgets at least one hour before bed. A mere 2 hours of daily exposure to the blue light from electronic displays reduces our production of melatonin (the chemical that helps control our body's internal clock) with about 22%. Recent studies have also shown that the electro-magnetic fields (EMF’s) created by our smart phones can reduce our sleep quality, in particular our slow wave sleep. Many of us keep our phone by the bed, consider keeping it somewhere else or turn it off/ put it on flight mode.
- Establish a sleep schedule
Try to stick to the same sleep schedule every day—by going to bed and waking up at the same time also during weekends, holidays and business trips we train our bodies and minds to start to relax. This is one of the key elements to being able to fall asleep and to stay asleep night by night.
- Find your bedtime ritual
Start to wind down by creating a bedtime ritual which signals to our bodies that it is time to relax. This can include listening to relaxing music, reading a book and dimming the lights. Taking a warm bath or shower also helps. The warm water stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone that helps us feel calmer and more relaxed. It will also make our body temperature first rise and then fall rapidly which will help to make us sleepy.
- Keep the best temperature for sleep
A nationwide poll in Germany found that 38% of women and 44% of men named being too hot or too cold as the most common disturbing factor for good sleep. This is backed up by science, when we sleep we are more sensitive to temperature shifts and changes impact in particular our deep sleep negatively. By wearing temperature regulating pajamas we can keep the ideal sleeping sleeping temperature for a deeper and longer sleep.
- Declutter and decorate for sleep
Remove unnecessary distractions and invest in some good curtains to block out the light. Don’t forget less obvious sources of light such as electronic devices on standby mode. Quite the noise with ear plugs or an electronic device that makes white noise if need be.
- Cool it
Our homes are up to 5°C warmer than 50 years ago as a result of better central heating and home insulation. This can be comfortable during the day but can lower our sleep quality during the night, if we can’t release excess heat. Breathing in cold air helps to reduce our core temperature, which in turn helps us to fall asleep and stay asleep, so crank down that thermostat.
- Stop counting sheep
If you want to stop counting sheep try merino wool pajamas. Researchers from Australia have found that by sleeping in merino pyjamas instead of cotton gives we can sleep up to 15 minutes’ more. Merino wool like other high-tech natural fibres are great at temperature regulation and moisture management which helps us to stay in the ideal climatic comfort zone all night.
Our sleep needs and sleep challenges changes throughout our lives. What remains the same is the essential need for sleep. When we sleep our immune system performs preventive maintenance that is key for our health, wellbeing and longevity.
- Get enough sleep at the right time
Most adults need between 6 and 9 hours of sleep every night. Our sleep rhythm changes over time. The older we get the earlier we feel ready to fall asleep and wake up. For the best sleep we should be in tune with our body’s natural clock. If need be take a 10 to 30 minutes nap mid-afternoon for an extra boost.
- Beat the night sweats
Sweating is a normal part of our bodies thermoregulation process but night sweats can lead to a restless sleep. Our body on average contains 60% water and we have 4 million sweat glands to be able to regulate heat and temperature increases. Every day we lose up to 2.5 liters of fluid and every night we sweat the equivalence of one cup. If we are wearing the wrong materials the result can be an uncomfortable wetness on our skin and cold and drenched sleepwear. The solution? Wearing the best pajamas for night sweats, keeping the bedroom cool and having a glass of ice water close to the bed can help.
- How to sleep better while pregnant
Over ¾ of women sleep worse during pregnancy and new moms and pregnant women are more likely to suffer from insomnia than any other group of women. There are measures you can take to sleep better also when expecting though! Many women find sleeping on the left side better as this keeps the uterus off our liver, combat overheating and night sweats pregnancy or as a new mum by keeping the bed room temperature low and by wearing temperature regulating maternity pajamas. If leg cramps wake you up, try pressing your feet hard against the wall or try standing on one leg. Read more about how to sleep better while pregnant.
- Menopause and sleep
75% of women sleep worse during menopause and our total sleep decreases with up to 40 minutes per night. The most common menopause sleep problems are hot flashes at night as well as breathing problems such as sleep apnea and insomnia. If you are suffering from hot flashes a lower room temperature, keeping cooling aids nearby and using the best menopause nightwear can help you to sleep better. Read more about night sweats menopause and sleep.
HOW TO SLEEP BETTER WITH DAGSMEJAN
Dagsmejan sleepwear is catering to your individual physiological sleep needs to ensure that you can enjoy the best sleep possible. Using the finest natural fibres and the latest textile technology, Dagsmejan is scientifically proven to improve your sleep comfort and helping you to keep the ideal sleeping temperature. Discover why Dagsmejan has been named the most comfortable pajamas in the world.
This collection of merino wool pajamas is ideal if you have a tendency to get cold during the night or during colder seasons. Featuring NATTTWARM™ fabric this collection provide featherlight warmth, without you ever overheating. As warming as other fabrics up to 50% heavier, Dagsmejan thermal pyjamas is 4x more breathable than cotton
Are you sometimes hot and cold at night? Then the balance collection is your ideal match helping you to keep the best temperature for sleep all night. With patented sleep technology NATTWELL™ fabric is 6x more breathable than cotton and 4x better at moisture management. With the help of this natural high-tech fabric you don’t need to worry about night sweats or hot flashes at night.
Stay cool even when the temperature rises with this smooth, cooling pajamas based on Eucalyptus fibres. The NATTTCOOL™ fabric is 8x more breathable than cotton and dries in 1/3 of the time so with this moisture wicking pajamas you never have to worry about sweating while sleeping.
Want to optimize your muscle recovery? The revolutionary NATTRECOVER™ fabric feature responsive energizing minerals which recycle excess body heat and convert it into natural far infrared energy, enhancing muscle regeneration.
Mum & baby
Dagsmejan sleepwear is designed to aid you and your baby to a better night's sleep, night by night. Developed to support you on every step of the way. Sleep science, tested and proven by real mums.