If you’re looking for a new partner, sleeping problems can have an impact on dating by making it harder for you to control your emotions and make good decisions.
Yet despite growing awareness of the importance of sleeping well, a 2015 survey by Southern Cross Healthcare Group found that a quarter of New Zealanders feel tired or fatigued every day, with the percentage rising to 36% among Kiwis aged under 30. Eighty percent of New Zealanders said they’d rather have a full night’s sleep than a big night out. The research found that more than half of the 1650 people surveyed used an electronic device an hour before bed, which may make it harder for the brain to relax.
While Oprah Winfrey says she only needs five hours’ sleep a night, most of us need around eight hours. If you wake up tired and crave a nap during the day, you probably need more sleep.
If you’re worried about your sleeping patterns, take the US National Sleep Foundation’s sleepiness test to find out if you’re more or less sleepy than the general population.
The foundation suggests trying to consistently follow these top 10 tips to get a better night’s sleep:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time, even on the weekend, to regulate your body clock.
- Develop a relaxing bedtime ritual away from bright lights before bed.
- Avoid naps – especially in the afternoon – if you have trouble sleeping.
- Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise can help.
- Sleep in a cool room that is free from light, noise and other distractions. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, earplugs or fans if needed to create a restful sleep environment.
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows. Most good quality mattresses only last 10 years.
- Avoid bright light in the evening and seek sunlight in the morning to help manage your circadian rhythms.
- Avoid alcohol, smoking and heavy or spicy meals in the evening. If you’re still hungry, have a light snack 45 minutes before bed.
- Spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity, such as reading. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid using electronics before bed or in the middle of the night.
- If you can’t sleep, go to another room and do something relaxing till you feel tired.
If all else fails, do what other Kiwis do and take Ed Sheeran to bed with you. New statistics from Spotify found two Ed Sheeran tracks – Thinking Out Loud and I See Fire – featured on the list of the top 10 songs on our sleep-themed playlists.
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