Insider tips to help you sleep well
Lack of shut eye can leave us feeling irritable (worn out, grumpy and exhausted anyone?). But whether it’s because your partner’s a thunderous snorer, or simply because you find it difficult to drift off, we have six expert-approved tips that’ll help you have more restful sleep.
1. Leave your bed
Can’t drift off? Or wake up in the night and find your mind is racing too much to get back to sleep? It might sound counter-intuitive, but if it’s been 20 minutes or more since you woke up, then leaving your bed can help. Try reading a book in another room, listening to the radio or making a hot drink (but no caffeine!). When you start to feel more relaxed, then go back to bed – you'll be less frustrated and this may help you sleep.
2. Try personal duvets
If you and your partner are completely different temperatures when you sleep and it’s causing you both issues in the night, Jason Ellis, Professor of Sleep Science at Northumbria University and author of The One Week Insomnia Cure, suggests trying separate duvets: a high tog rating for the cold person and a lower tog rating for the hot-blooded.
3. Become a positional therapist
If your partner’s snoring means you lie awake wondering whether divorce on the grounds of sleep deprivation is acceptable, then there are things you can do to help. Most snoring is caused by people sleeping on their backs. "This makes people snore more heavily, because their airway is facing directly downwards," explains Professor Ellis. "When we’re asleep, our tongue and soft palate [the back of the roof of the mouth] relax and partially block the airway." Try putting a golf ball in the front pocket of their pyjama shirt and get them to wear it backwards, so that the discomfort will force them to turn over (trust us – they’ll prefer this to you prodding them during the night). "It’s what we call 'positional therapy'," continues Professor Ellis. "This is training to stop them sleeping on their back."
4. Listen to white noise
If it’s regular noise that’s keeping you awake (from snoring to those nightmare noisy neighbours), then being short of earplugs can seem like you’re out of options. "Try listening to white noise," advises Professor Ellis. "You can buy a fan, or there are plenty of apps. Your brain will then become attuned to that, rather than other sounds."
5. Re-align your sleeping patterns
If your bedtime routine is constantly disturbed because you and your partner naturally wake up and fall asleep at different times, then psychotherapist and mind coach Jess Henley suggests you try to adapt your disparate sleeping patterns a little. "The lark could try staying up an hour later, while the owl could come to bed an hour earlier," she says. "Then at least you’re two hours closer than you were before."
6. Get a vibrating alarm clock
If sharing a bed with an early riser means you’re awake as soon as their alarm goes off, invest in a vibrating alarm clock. They can keep it under their pillow and that way it’ll only wake the correct person. Simple!