7 Secrets On How to Sleep Well | Ye Olde Bell
24 April 2019
Sleep. Something we all need, we all want, we all enjoy, yet many of us seem incapable of getting enough of it.
The average Briton misses out on well over an hour of sleep every night – racking up just six hours 19 minutes of shut eye compared to the recommended eight hours. This amounts to missing a whole night’s sleep over the course of just one week. That is a lot of sleep.
There are dozens of reasons for this, with stress, hectic lives, and demanding jobs being the primary offenders. At Ye Olde Bell, our primary goal is to ensure all our guests get a delicious and deep eight hours’ uninterrupted slumber while staying with us.
Sleep is our business.
When designing each of our unique hotel rooms, we aimed to create the optimal conditions for a great nights’ sleep. This means each bedroom perfectly combines luxury with light, space and practicality, to make you feel looked after and relaxed. Period antiques and rich furnishings are complemented by plump pillows, soft duvets, flat screen TVs, wi-fi and slick bathrooms stocked with spoiling toiletries.
But while we can create the perfect sleep-inducing atmosphere of plush bedding and luxurious tranquility, there are steps you can take as our guests here, and at home, to enhance your slumber and combat any creeping insomnia.
With this in mind, we thought we would share some of the latest thinking and steps you can take to help you get that all important rest.
Get enough light during the day
Light dictates your body’s natural circadian rhythms, which influence when you are awake and alert and when you get sleepy. Exposure to natural light during the day will help regulate your hormones to keep your energised in daylight hours and enable you to more easily drift off in the evening.
Studies have shown that greater exposure to bright light during the day can trigger significant improvements in insomnia and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. While most of the research has been undertaken on older patients struggling with sleep disturbance, getting a good dose of natural daylight, ideally sunlight, has beneficial effects for everyone. So, there’s your excuse to step away from your desk and get out for a walk at lunchtime.
Switch off your computer or phone at least two hours before bed
We should all know this by now, but how many of us do it? Any bright light in the evening is going to interrupt your body’s natural sleep signals but the blue light emitted by screens is particularly bad. It reduces hormones like melatonin which help us relax and encourage us to wake up, making it very difficult to drop off immediately after checking emails or social media feeds.
Ideally, stop looking at your computer, phone or even TV at least two hours before you plan on sleeping. However, if that’s completely unrealistic, there are some other steps you can take. This includes wearing glasses that block blue light, installing an app that blocks blue light on your phone, or getting a special screen filter that achieves the same effect.
Get plenty of exercise
Aside from all its other health benefits, exercise is undoubtedly one of the best ways to get you sleeping soundly and is regularly used as an insomnia treatment. The exact science behind why exercise has such beneficial effects for sleep is still being investigated, but we know that exercise reduces stress, anxiety, and simply tires us out. It is thought it may well aid our natural circadian rhythms and has the added benefit of increasing sunlight exposure.
Exercise causes an increase in body temperature, so it’s thought the post-exercise drop in temperature may encourage sleep. The exercise, however, must be undertaken during the day, as working out late in the evening can make it harder to drift off.
Head out for a walk and admire the stunning Nottinghamshire countryside and quaint English villages that surround our historic four-star hotel on Barnby Moor. Ye Olde Bell is surrounded by the Dukeries, estates of five previous Dukes, with Sherwood Forest, Rufford, Thoresby, Welbeck. Also, it’s only 10 minutes’ drive from the 4,000-acre National Trust Clumber Park so there are beautiful walking routes a plenty.
Be aware of what you eat and drink before bed
Try not to eat a big stodgy meal shortly before going to bed. This is much more likely to result in a disturbed night, affecting your sleep hormones and causing potential indigestion. This does not mean you cannot tuck into a delicious dinner at our AA Rosette
Restaurant Bar 1650 or St Leger Bistro-by-the-Bar just try to leave a good three or four-hour gap between your dinner and sleep time.
Avoid caffeine in the evening as it acts as a stimulant, staving off sleep for several hours in some people. Caffeine is fantastic at breakfast when you want to wake up and be alert, but it can remain at an elevated level in people’s bloodstream for up to eight hours and is therefore best avoided after mid-afternoon. If you are hankering after that post-dinner espresso, choose decaffeinated – our decaf coffee still tastes great.
Lastly, no-one likes to hear it, but experts insist that alcohol lessens the quality of your sleep. However, downing several pints every night in the pub is very different to savouring some delicious wine with your dinner. In fact, we would argue based on personal experience that the enjoyment you derive from treating yourself to one or two glasses of fine wine while dining in style can only be conducive to a great night’s sleep.
Regular sleeping patterns
Your body’s natural sleep timer likes to follow a regular pattern, which once would have been dictated entirely by sunrise and sunset. Remaining consistent with your bedtime and morning alarm really helps natural slumber. Those who stay up very late and then sleep in at weekend disturb their natural rhythms leading to poor sleep during the week.
If you struggle with sleep, try sticking to a consistent bedtime without interruption for a few weeks – you might be amazed at the difference it makes.
Enjoy your bedtime routine
Sticking to a regular and calming bedtime routine helps your conscious and subconscious prepare to sleep. Taking a relaxing bath or shower can be a great way to unwind, before reading a book or listening to an audiobook or podcast in bed. Some people use relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises. There are many different methods, it’s about finding one that suits you.
While staying at Ye Olde Bell you could treat yourself to the ultimate bedtime relaxation ritual and book a massage at our stunning spa which boasts 10 tantalising thermal experiences where you can lie back and indulge your senses.
Get your bedroom just right
Make sure your bedroom is set up to perfectly aid relaxation and sleep. A bedroom should be comfy, quiet, and calming. Make sure it is not too hot as your body temperature falls during sleep which is why it can be a struggle in hot climates. Maintain a temperature of between 16 and 20°C and insulate it against exterior noise where possible. Keep your bedroom tidy as this is conducive to a relaxed and ordered mind-state.
Lastly, and possibly most importantly, the bed. People often wonder why they sleep better when staying in hotels. The answer is simple – any self-respecting hotel will have invested in superior beds with high-quality mattresses.
A comfy and supportive bed is a vital ingredient of a truly great night’s sleep, which is why at Ye Olde Bell we only source the very best sleep furnishings. Studies have shown that new and well-chosen mattresses can reduce back pain, stiffness, and vastly improve sleep. Ideally you should buy a new mattress every five to eight years which is far more than most people do at home.
So, rather than continue to marvel at how wonderful our beds are, why not take inspiration and turn your bedroom into your very own hotel room – or you can simply keep coming back to visit us regularly!