Moment of Tranquillity Sleep Tips

Autumn and winter is a wonderful time for long nights, curling up with cosy blankets and relaxing by the fire. Getting a good night’s sleep in winter should seem like no problem. However, for some people, winter can wreak havoc on sleep quality and quantity, particularly when we set our clocks back one hour for daylight saving time. If you’re busy and travelling, perhaps even more so.

During the first few days after setting the clocks back, you will also notice that it’s bright outside in the mornings and becomes dark at an earlier time each evening. If you’re one of those people who finds that these colder, shorter months mean more tossing and turning at night it may be because fewer hours of daylight in the winter can have a big impact on your sleep-wake cycle.

There is no single fix for everyone but there are great sleep hygiene tips available.  We’ve been working with Behavioural sleep specialist, Donna Fairley to include these scientifically validated tips  into ‘A Moment of Tranquillity’ to help our guests get the best night’s sleep possible in the luxury surroundings of InterContinental Edinburgh The George.

Behavioural sleep expert, Donna Fairley’s top tips and strategies for practicing good sleep hygiene:

  1. Establish a consistent routine, try and keep a regular bed and wake time, including at the weekend, as this can help prepare you for time changes.
  2. Get sunlight exposure as soon as you get up. Get outdoors in the morning, soon after the sun comes up. If that’s not possible, try to at least sit by a window during the first few hours of daylight.
  3. Caffeine should be consumed in the morning as it can enhance performance. Caffeine consumed within six hours of bedtime can disrupt your sleep cycle. Avoid alcohol close to bedtime. Alcohol has a sedative effect and will make you fall asleep quickly, but it has been linked to poor sleep quality and duration.
  4. In the evening, dim lighting is important. The bedroom should be as dark as possible with black-out blinds and lined curtains. When you are ready to sleep, the room should be so dark you cannot see your hand.
  5. The bedroom should not be too hot; the ideal temperature is around 18 degrees Celsius. A drop in room temperature should start around two hours before you go to sleep, coinciding with the release of the sleep hormone melatonin.
  6. If you tend to be a worrier, factor constructive ‘worry time’ into the early evening but not too close to bedtime. Try to think about what went well that day. Have a to-do list for outstanding tasks for the following day, so that when you waken during the night, you can reassure yourself that everything is in hand. Let it go!
  7. Relaxing scents and fragrances can help you unwind.
  8. Have a hot bath or shower two hours before bed, using scented oils to help you unwind. This will not only help you to relax but will initially raise your body temperature which will then fall and thereby optimise the natural effects of melatonin.
  9. Practice stretching before bed. Yoga has been proven to initiate and allow for a deeper, more relaxing sleep.
  10. With its soothing and mildly sedative effect, chamomile tea prior to bedtime can help with sleep.