5 expert tips for a better nights sleep

Dr Carmel Harrington is A.H. Beard’s sleep expert.

Rather than trying to change your routine by a whole hour, ease into it by gradually adjusting your bedtime each night.

In the lead up to April 7, gradually go to bed 15 minutes later each night so that your body will be ready when the clocks move back.

Remember also that the time we get up in the morning sets our body clock for the next 24 hours, so try to get in a little bit of extra snooze each morning so that your body clock is totally attuned to the later bedtimes and wake-up times when the clocks go back.

Have a regular night time routine

In conjunction with the 15-minute delay in bedtime, your night time routine also needs to be delayed by the same amount of time. Set an alarm one hour before your proposed bedtime and do the following:

  • Turn off all technology
  • Dim the lighting in the room
  • Have a warm-hot shower
  • Practice relaxation exercise or a simple meditation

Do not:

  • Have a large meal within 3 hours of bedtime.
  • Exercise within 3 hours of bedtime (this will alert the body)
  • Make sure your bedroom is: cool (18°C is an ideal sleeping temperature), dark (wear eye masks if required), quiet (ear plugs if you line in a noisy environment) and comfortable (make sure your bed and bedding does not keep you from sleeping well).

It is worthwhile noting that many people suffer from poor sleep due to the state of their mattress and pillow. Australia’s first smart bed, Sleepsense by A.H. Beard, has built in tracking technology that provides the user an understanding of their sleep journey as well as the ability to change mattress firmness and sleep position

Be aware of what affects your sleep

How we spend our day affects how we sleep at night, and there are many things we can do that will improve our sleep quality and quantity such as:

  • Getting up at the same time every day.
  • Exercising for at least 20 minutes per day (a walk at lunchtime is good)
  • Making sure you deal with the issues of the day during the day and not when you get into bed: in the early evening spend no more than 20 minutes writing events of the day that are of concern along with potential solutions. Close the book and put it away.

Do not:

  • Sleep in for more than an hour past your regular wake-up time on the weekends.
  • Have caffeine after midday.
  • Drink alcohol.
  • Sleep during the day (a nap of 20 minutes is okay).

Get the right amount of sleep on a regular basis.

If we regularly get the sleep we need, the effects of the daylight saving time change will be minimised. Adults require 7-9 hours sleep but the exact amount that is right for you is an individual measure so it is important that you know what you need and make an effort to get this on a regular basis. If you aren’t sure of how much sleep you are getting, one way of finding out is by using a sleep tracker.

Don’t worry

Don’t worry if you are finding it difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep. Just accept that for the moment your body does not want to sleep and use that time to maybe do a breathing or relaxation exercise. You could also perhaps use this awake time to take your mind back to a time that you were really happy and try to relive the enjoyment of the experience. Sweet dreams!