20 Minutes. That’s all that stands between feeling exhausted and the best sleep ever.
It’s also how much more sleep a woman needs than the average man, according to professional James Horne, a leading sleep expert in the UK.
A good night’s sleep is kind of like an orgasm – you have friends who experience it on the reg, your guy gets it right every night and you’ve only managed it a couple of times over the past few months. Sleep deprivation affects women more than men… fact! We sleep lighter and find it more difficult to go back to dreamland once we wake up.
So, what gives? Well, turns out that your daytime habits and your pre-sleep routine could be to blame. So, if you’re keen on catching a little more shut-eye tonight, start by making these easy changes:
Your daytime sleep plan:
1 Start bright
Within five minutes of waking, try to expose yourself to sunlight for 30 minutes to give your brain the “It’s morning!” signal, says US sleep specialist Clete Kushida. It’s still way before sunrise? Turn on a bright light to simulate sunlight as closely as possible.
2 See the light
Then continue to spend the time in sunny places: a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found office workers who scored natural light durning the day got an average of 46 minutes more sleep per night than daylight-deprived colleagues.
3 Hit the weights
Any resistance exercise you do, whether it’s at 7am or 7pm, will reduce the number of times you wake up during the night, according to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
4 Save carbs for dinner
The insulin spike you get from eating foods such as brown rice, sweet potato or pasta may help you fall asleep faster, says research published in the journal Cell Reports.
5 Play your soundtrack
To set the stage for sleep, play a slow jam – songs with a continuous rhythm of around 60bpm, which sync up with your resting heart rate, says therapeutic practitioner Lyz. And it doesn’t have to be Enya – try Coldplay’s “Strawberry Swing” or Beyoncé’s “Flaws and All”.
6 Find your calm
Women who had hypnosis got up to 80 percent more deep Zs in a study by the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Try this from hypnotherapist Dr John McGrail: sit with palms on thighs. Raise your index finger and imagine it getting lighter. Lower it as you silently count down from five then think “deep sleep”.
7 Banish glare
If you must watch series in bed, set your gadget’s brightness to the lowest possible level. Us research shows that the light from computer, tablet and smartphone screens suppresses melatonin.
Still stuck counting sheep? Make this smoothie to boost your zzz’s or try one of these sleep-savers so that you don’t spend your day feeling like a zombie.