Given the seismic impact of Covid-19 on every aspect of everyday life, it’s no secret that reports of struggling to sleep have soared over the past year, resulting in a rise in issues around tiredness, irritability, anxiety and even mental health, as Dr Rebecca Robbins, Savoir Beds’ newly-enlisted sleep expert, explains.
“Our working lives have transitioned to virtual platforms, our social interactions are limited and we spend extended periods of time with the same people in the same places – all changes that can negatively impact our sleep,” she says. “Healthy sleep is all about routine, both in terms of the schedules we maintain and the practices we engage in leading up to bedtime.” She recommends establishing pre-sleep rituals that are easy to adhere to – even the act of making a cup of herbal tea can create a sense of comfort; an essential quality in slipping into sound sleep.
Other sensible advice includes regular exercise, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, limiting caffeine intake and having a light supper in the evening. But what does she suggest for those gruelling tossing and turning sessions at 3am?
“Staying in bed and wishing for sleep to come is one of the biggest mistakes many of us make - it conditions us to look at the bedroom as a stressful place,” she replies. “Get out of bed and return only when you are tired. This will allow you to slip into a deeper stage of sleep faster than if you had stayed in bed.” She also notes that attention should be paid to the bedroom environment itself, from using a non-heat-retaining mattress that supports the head, neck and spinal column, to introducing curtains that close properly and shut out light.