Why Everything You Ever Knew About Sleep Is WRONG
It’s something everyone’s looking to get more of and it doesn’t cost a cent. But Britain’s top sleep expert has revealed you need to throw everything you’ve ever been told about getting a good night’s sleep out the window.
Nick Littlehales has dedicated the past 30 years of his life to sleep, teaching sports stars from David Beckham to Cristiano Ronaldo how to get the most out of their shut eye.
He's revealed a lot of what we’re being told about sleep is nonsense and says it’s time to throw the rule book out the window and start again.
While many think you need an expensive mattress to get a good night's shut eye, he warns not to waste you money on mattresses that make big claims. He revealed the industry is poorly regulated and just about anyone can mark a mattress as ‘orthopaedic.’
As for sleeping on your mattress Nick recommends lying on your non-dominant side as it provides the best postural alignment and you’re less likely to snore!
The fabric of your sheets can also effect how you sleep. He says all your bedding should be hypoallergenic and to opt for synthetics over cotton sheets. Clean sheets are also important! When Nick worked with the British cycling team he insisted they have fresh sheets every night.
Getting into proper sleep cycles is also very important. Nick says ninety minutes is the length of time it takes someone to go through the stages of sleep. This includes light and deep sleep. While the amount of sleep we get each night varies from cycle to cycle, ideally you transition from one cycle to the next in a pattern of wake-sleep-wake and then gradually sleeping less deeply until waking in the morning. He says we should be aiming to get at least 5 cycles of sleep a night, which is around seven and a half hours.
The 90 minute cycle should also be incorporated into your routine before bed. Nick says your pre and post sleep routine directly effects the quality of sleep and how good you feel when you wake up. He says to plan ahead and have a light snack before bed so you're not hungry in the middle of the night and most importantly turn off technology and dim the lights.
Some people believe that the earlier you go to bed the better your sleep is, but this isn't completely true. Nick says if you end up staying out late one night, it's actually better for you to go to better 90 minutes after you get home, so you have proper time to unwind and go through your bed time routine.