Dream Revelations AKA The Ultimate Guide to a Good Nights' Sleep

First published: 19-09-2017

A good nights sleep

You're short tempered, you can't focus, and horrible fatigue drags you down all day... At some point, we've all had a bad night's sleep and suffered the consequences.

The amount of time you spend asleep is important. A solid sleep can leave you feeling refreshed and energised, not to mention the boost to your mental wellbeing, lower risk of disease, and even weight loss.

So, what can you do to guarantee that elusive good night's kip?

We challenged four UK adults to monitor their sleep for a week using fitness trackers, to give us insight on the things that affect our sleep, and the impact it can have on how we feel the next day.

Explore the results to see if you can relate to Agnieszka, Amy, Ike, and April. Get advice from The Sleep Council's Great British Bedtime Report and Push Doctor's Dr Adam Simon about how you can improve your bedtime routine and learn to sleep well every night.

Raise your BPM to get more ZZZ


How did you sleep?

"I usually work late and don't get home until after 11pm, and I need about an hour to settle down before bed. I use my phone right up until I fall asleep. I regularly experience trouble sleeping and wake easily in the night. I often dream I'm still at work, running a shift, which makes me feel like I haven't gotten the rest I need!"

Agnieszka's sleep quality:

Out of all our sleepers, Agnieszka reported the highest quality of sleep, and clocked the second-highest hours of sleep overall. This could be down to her lifestyle. She has a healthy diet and stays active by exercising regularly and walking her dog - and her job keeps her on her feet.

Generally, she slept longer after days she exercised. On days after she'd slept for more than 8 hours, she reported feeling energised.

The science:

According to The Sleep Council, exercising could be the key to a successful sleeping pattern: 32% of people who exercise daily say they sleep very well most nights, and those who work out 5-6 times a week are less likely to take medication or visit their GP for help sleeping.

When it comes to food and exercise before bed, Dr Simon says: "To avoid indigestion, eat your evening meal at least three hours before you turn in. Steer clear of caffeine in the afternoons, as its stimulating effect can take up to six hours to wear off. It's also best to avoid strenuous exercise fewer than four hours before bed, as your body needs time to wind down."

Power down to recharge your batteries


How did you sleep?

"I'm a restless sleeper and often have nightmares and recurring dreams. I also sometimes have difficulty sleeping due to anxiety. I usually read or watch TV in bed. Sometimes I don't bother with my phone, but occasionally I check it up to five minutes before I fall asleep."

Amy's sleep quality:

Though Amy clocked the highest average hours of sleep per night, she had the second-lowest sleep quality overall. Her FitBit Charge 2 recorded that she spent at least 40 mins during each night awake or restless, which could explain why she often reported not sleeping well and being tired the next day.

However, on days where she hadn't checked her phone before going to sleep, she generally felt better - especially if she hadn't looked at it for least 20 minutes prior to nodding off.

The science:

Amy's not alone - according to The Sleep Council (TSC), 38% of people watch TV before bed, and 14% check their emails right before going to sleep. This leads to what TSC calls 'Junk Sleep': low quality sleep that's too short to recharge our brains properly. Of those who watch TV in bed, 39% say they sleep 'very poorly most nights'. On the other hand, 39% of those who read before going to sleep say they sleep 'very well'.

If you're experiencing poor sleep quality, Dr Simon says, "light prompts your body to release serotonin, a hormone that makes you more awake and alert, so leave your electronic devices in another room and use an eye mask if necessary."

Be prepared when sharing a bed


How did you sleep?

"My partner usually goes to sleep around 10pm, and so I'll usually sit up and watch a programme on my iPad or read on my phone right up to the point where I nod off. I wouldn't say I have trouble sleeping, but I'm a light sleeper and am easily woken up by any little noise or disturbance."

Ike's sleep quality:

Despite getting at least 7.5 hours of sleep each night, Ike reported feeling really tired nearly every morning, (apart from Saturday, after a 9-hour kip!). During most nights, he spent at least 40 minutes awake or restless, according to his Fitbit. He reported being woken up by his partner's snoring and their kitten, and lying awake because he was stressed about work.

The science:

Ike's not the only one struggling with disturbed sleep. According to The Sleep Council, worrying and being disrupted by your partner are the two most common things that affect our sleep: 47% of Brits are kept awake by stress and worry, and a quarter are kept awake by their partners' snoring, teeth grinding, and duvet hogging.

A bit of planning is all it takes to fix the situation. Dr Simon advises: "If you're kept awake by outside noise, or a partner's snoring, invest in a set of ear plugs. It's also recommended that you don't share your bed with a pet, as their noise and fidgeting could keep you awake."

The beauty of routine


How did you sleep?

"I've got a pretty solid bedtime routine: I like to do some stretches and foam rolling at around 10pm, drink a cup of warm water, and get into bed at around 11pm. I don't really have trouble nodding off, and I'd call myself a heavy sleeper."

April's sleep quality:

Even though she clocked the least average hours per night, April's sleep quality was the second-highest out of everyone who participated in the study. It's likely that this is down to her routine. She exercises on her lunch break each day and usually goes to bed at the same time every night - in fact, her Fitbit Alta HR showed that she fell asleep at the most consistent time each night out of all our sleepers.

The science:

It's no secret that having a nightly routine can help to improve your sleep, and a regular bedtime is a key part of that: 32% of people who go to bed between 10pm and 11pm each night say they sleep 'very well', according to The Sleep Council.

Dr Simon agrees: "You should try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even at the weekend. This will help your body establish a natural routine." He also says the way you arrange your bed is important: "Your bed itself should be comfortable. Try to experiment with different mattress types, blanket tog ratings, and pillows to find what's best for you."

Dr Simon's top tips for a good nights' sleep:

Dr Simon's top tips

Do you have trouble sleeping? Or have you mastered a perfect bedtime routine? Share your tricks and tips @WatchShop or connect with us on our Facebook page.


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