‘How to sleep better in winter’ searches have surged by 35% in the past month, highlighting that achieving a restful night remains a challenge for many. Beyond issues like smartphone use and room temperature, it is revealed that gender poses a significant challenge to a peaceful night’s rest.
In a new survey by Mattress Online, 3,000 participants shared their sleep patterns, delving into the concept of the potential ‘gender sleep gap.’ Mattress Online also provides valuable advice from sleep experts, ‘The Sleep Geek’ James Wilson, and Chloe Angus, Corporate Wellbeing Manager at Cavendish Cancer Care to optimise nightly rest, as well as some tips and tricks to help with falling asleep.
Men and women both experience insufficient sleep, with 80% of women and 71% of men reporting below the recommended sleep durations. Notably, 10% of women sleep less than 4 hours, 3% higher than men, and women have 8% more instances of shorter sleep durations than men. The most common sleep duration is 6-7 hours, and 18% of men achieve the recommended 7-8 hours, slightly more than the 15% of women.
Ease of Falling Asleep:
Slightly higher prevalence of consistent sleep patterns among women, with 27% maintaining a regular sleep schedule ‘always’ compared to 23% of men. In the ‘more often than not’ category, both genders are evenly distributed at 33% for women and 34% for men. Tips for falling asleep easier include distractions, relaxation techniques, and bedtime habits like a warm bath or listening to calming music.
Frequency of Waking Up:
Significant numbers from both genders consistently wake up in the middle of the night, with 33% of females and 35% of males reporting this. The highest percentage response for waking up is three times a night for both genders (20% for females, 19% for males).
Feeling Well-Rested After Sleep:
Feeling well-rested ‘only on some occasions’ is the most common response for both genders, with 46% for females and 47% for males.’Always’ well-rested response is the least common, with only 2% of females and 1% of males consistently experiencing this.
Bedtime Habits for Better Sleep:
Limiting screen use an hour before sleep is the most prevalent bedtime habit, embraced by 16% of both females and males. Dimming the lights is the second-most popular habit, with 15% of females and 14% of males. Herbal tea is chosen by 9% of females and 8% of males, while sleep aid medication is incorporated by only 6% of females and 5% of males.
6 Good Sleep Habits for Healthier Rest
Establishing good sleep habits first begins with establishing a nighttime routine. You’ll want to go to bed and rise at the same time every day, including weekends. This will help you reset your circadian rhythm, establish your natural sleep cycle, and make it easier for you to fall asleep each night.
Here are some other habits to help you achieve that deep restorative sleep we all need:
Don’t Rely on the Snooze Button as a Way To Get More Sleep.
Allowing yourself to be continually awakened by your alarm interrupts your usual sleep schedule, leading to poor quality sleep as well as grogginess throughout the following day. Instead, following the rest of these tips is more important to establish a solid block of sleep throughout the night. This will help you to awaken feeling refreshed and recharged for the day.
Consider Using Supplements To Help You Sleep.
Sleep is an essential and often underrated aspect of life. However, getting a good night’s sleep can be hard without the help of supplements. Many different supplements can help you sleep- melatonin, valerian root, chamomile tea, and GABA. You can take all of these supplements in conjunction with each other to create a more effective way to get the rest you need at night.
Turn off Electronics an Hour Before Going To Bed.
Not only do devices like tablets and cell phones emit a blue light that can interfere with your body’s natural production of melatonin, but their constant alerts and updates coming in throughout the night can also disrupt sleep. Read a book instead!
You should definitely avoid using technology for at least an hour before you go to bed. This will help you wind down and relax your mind before going to sleep. However, if you must use electronics as part of your nightly routine, try dimming those screens as much as possible to minimize the effects of disrupting your sleep cycle.
Make Your Bedroom Dark and Cool.
Your body needs a cool and inviting environment to help you fall asleep. If your room is too brightly lit or uncomfortably warm, this can disrupt your sleep pattern. Instead, consider using heavy curtains on the windows to block out the street light. If it’s warmer, try turning your thermostat down a few degrees or getting a fan to help keep you cool as you drift off to Dreamland.
Avoid Taking Daytime Naps if Possible.
Napping for more than 20 minutes during the day can disrupt nighttime sleeping patterns, making it difficult for you to get sound, restorative sleep at night. This can also make it harder for you to get up in the morning because of “sleep inertia” or the grogginess you feel immediately after waking up.
If naps are part of your routine, try not to nap more than 20 minutes at a time and avoid doing so later in the day (to avoid disrupting nighttime sleeping patterns.)
Create a Nighttime Routine That Helps You Relax Before Going To Bed.
Stress is one of the most common reasons people experience difficulty falling asleep and poor quality sleep once they do fall asleep. To create good sleep habits, you should develop a routine that’s calming to your mind and body before you go to sleep, including avoiding stimulants like caffeine.
You can include meditation in your nighttime routine to relax your mind and body before going to bed.
It may also be helpful for you to create a relaxing bedtime ritual that allows you some “me” time instead of using it as an excuse to catch up on your phone or tablet. For example, reading a book, taking a bath, journaling, or catching up with loved ones are all good ways of winding down without relying heavily on technology before bedtime.