Your sleep questions answered

Sebastian Pole, co-founder of Pukka Herbs, shares his tips for enjoying a good night's sleep

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A good night's rest is one of the best things in the world. We feel relaxed, refreshed and awake. When we sleep well our body repairs itself, our mind relaxes and we process our emotional experiences.

Even our dreams, chaotic though they sometimes are, can be a window to our soul helping us to unravel some of life's mystery. But don't we all miss a good night's sleep when we don't get enough of it?

Before we know it we are knackered and possibly even a tad grumpy. If it becomes a regular pattern there often seems little you can do about it. But there is. There are lots of simple things you can include in your day to help your night. See some of our simple hints below to help you have a restful night's sleep.

Your sleepy questions answered:

Why is sleep so important?

We repair our physical body when we are in deep sleep during the first third of the night. The later two thirds of the night are spent in REM and lighter sleep, responsible for memory and emotional regulation. We don't need to be in deep sleep the whole night to get proper rest.

Do I have a sleep problem if I wake up in the night?

It's completely normal to wake up in the night. We are conditioned to wake up during sleep so when you do, just roll over and let your slumber flow.

How much sleep do I need?

It all depends on who you are, how old you are and what is normal for your family. You will know what is enough for you by how refreshed you feel. We need an average of 7-8 hours, but some people need just four and others need 10.

When should I go to bed?

Many people believe that going to bed early is better for a good night's sleep but what is more important is routine. Try and go to sleep and get up at the same time every day, (+/- 30 minutes is fine).

Do I need a strict regime to get a good night’s sleep?

The less anxiety you have about getting to sleep the better. Just try and keep noise and electronic stimulation low and keep the lights dimmed for an hour or so before bed.

If I wake up in the night should I get up and potter about?

No, you should just relax and stay in bed.

Should I completely avoid caffeine?

That’s not necessary, but its probably best to not have more than two caffeinated drinks a day and none after lunchtime.

Bedroom etiquette:

  • Keep your room cool - if it's too hot you will be restless.
  • Keep your room dark as too much light disrupts the production of hormones that help us sleep. Blackout blinds can be helpful, but a little crack of light is fine.
  • Make sure you have a comfortable mattress. You deserve it!

  • Even more tips to get in tune with your natural sleep pattern:

    Eat well: Make sure you have eaten properly during the day so you don't go to bed too hungry or too full.

    Drink well: Alcohol is renowned for creating disturbed sleep. Night Time tea before bed can help with a good night's sleep.

    Exercise well: Make sure you have done enough physical exercise every day. It's fun, tires your body and helps you sleep better.

    Relax well: Take time out every day to relax and ground. Having a daily breathing practice is perfect for this. Once you have learned, how it's simple and free.

    Massage well: We all store tension in our muscles so having a regular massage is not just a luxury, it's a great way to stay healthy. A foot massage is a simple way to prepare for sleep so call in favours or share with your partner.

    Play well: Make sure you are having enough fun. All work and no play makes little bears grumpy!

    Think well: Keep positive, avoid obsessing about sleep and trust that your natural rhythms will help you get the rest you need.

    Sleep well: Nature has created many plants that have relaxing properties that can help sleep patterns. The plants in Pukka's Night Time supplement are the sleepiest of the bunch.

    To celebrate Psychologies' partnership with Pukka Herbs, we have a year's supply of Pukka tea to give away and Pukka goodies worth over £200! Click here for your chance to win this rejuvenating bundle.

    Click here to find out more about Pukka Herbs and their range to help you sleep well.

    Image: Pukka Herbs

    Ellen Tout

    Psychologies Eco Living Editor, features writer and digital, Psychologies

    I am a freelance journalist and writer, working primarily as Psychologies Eco Living Editor, digital editor and features writer. I love the outdoors – walking with my dog, hiking, swimming, camping – and this has fuelled my passion for sustainable and eco-friendly living. I am currently also writing a monthly 'Eco Worrier' column for Psychologies. Follow me on social media, and in the magazine, for more.