It’s no surprise that January has been named the worst month for sleep. This is mainly because January comes right after the month where we’ve all been overindulging on food, drinking more alcohol, staying up late and sleeping in.
Following Christmas and New Year’s, many people will find it harder to sleep at night and have issues with getting back into a routine in January. To help you get back into a routine and better sleep in 2023, we spoke to Martin Seeley, sleep expert and CEO of MattressNextDay for his advice on creating better sleep habits in the New Year.
Here are 8 ways to improve your sleep habits and get back into a good sleep routine in the New Year. For more sleep tricks, check out these expert-approved 6 sleep hygiene tips.
1. Invest in a good mattress
One of the best ways to get better sleep night after night is to invest in the best mattress. Having the right mattress for your comfort and support preferences has a “huge impact on your overall health and wellbeing, not to mention helping with your spinal alignment and posture,” says Seeley. If your mattress is causing you aches and pains or isn’t comfortable anymore, this can have negative effects on your posture, muscles and joints, so it’s important to pick a mattress that is perfect for your needs. To help you find the best mattress, we have guides to the best memory foam mattress and the best bed in a box, or if you’re on a tight budget, you can improve the comfort of your current mattress with the best mattress topper.
2. Set a new bedtime routine
During festive celebrations, people go to bed late, sleep in and have naps throughout the day. While there’s nothing wrong with doing this for a bit, it’s not feasible once you go back to work. To improve your sleep habits, start by going back to your normal routine before Christmas or evaluate how well you slept last year and make adjustments if you need to. Try to stick to the same time each night to wind down and wake up, and put things into your nighttime routine that you enjoy, like having a bath, reading a chapter and lighting a candle.
3. Get to know your sleep chronotype
Your sleep chronotype regulates sleep and influences your appetite and body temperature. Understanding your sleep chronotype is said to help you sleep better and fall asleep easier as you’re more in tune with your body’s needs. “Everyone has a circadian rhythm known as a chronotype, which lets you know when you have the most energy or when you need to sleep. Knowing yours can help you schedule your life better and allow you to make the most out of your days so you can get into a routine suited to you,” says Seeley. For more information, check out I found my sleep chronotype and here’s how you can find yours.
4. Create a sleep sanctuary
Making your bedroom a sleep sanctuary is a brilliant way to encourage sleep and help you drop off easier and deeper. “Your bedroom is for sleep so the environment should reflect this. Make sure all electronics are removed, and it’s cool, dark and quiet. You should also ensure your room is free from clutter as a messy room can make us feel stressed and anxious,” suggests Seeley. Other ways to create a comforting sleep environment is to ensure your room is dark enough and get cosy underneath the best weighted blanket.
5. Reduce caffeine & put down electronics
To help you wind down at night, put down electronics and reduce your caffeine intake. Using technology right before bed disrupts your sleep, making you stay up for longer or affecting your sleep quality. Seeley recommends “removing all electronics from your bedroom in the evening as the blue light emitted can make you feel more wired and awake.” By cutting this out, it allows your brain to slowly switch off and unwind. Caffeine can also have the same result so it’s important to avoid drinking tea or coffee too late in the afternoon. Check what time should you stop drinking coffee for all the details.
6. Support your immune system
During the colder months, nutrition is key so you should be eating the right foods and getting plenty of vitamin C, fruits and vegetables to strengthen your immunity. According to Seeley, “your body needs more food during the colder darker nights, however, try and get as many vitamins and minerals in your diet as you can.” There are also some foods that help you sleep better, so check out these 8 foods to eat for a good night’s sleep & 4 to avoid.
7. Move your body daily
Exercising regularly or moving your body everyday can have an amazing effect on your health, fitness and sleep. Regardless of what time you exercise in the day, exercise helps increase your energy levels, improve your health and boost your mood. Working out or upping your step count will make you feel tired and need rest, so it can help you fall asleep faster at night.
8. Reconnect with nature
Getting out in nature and spending more time outside could be the answer to a better night’s sleep, according to Seeley. Studies have shown spending too much time indoors can disrupt your natural circadian rhythm due to the artificial light, but natural light can help avoid this and improve SAD symptoms. To reconnect with nature, Seeley says to “get out daily for long walks, runs and embrace the fresh air.”