Top 10 tips for a restful night, according to sleep expert Hannah Shore

At Premier Inn, we’re all about resting easy – but we know that sometimes, getting a good night’s sleep isn’t as simple as counting sheep. That’s why, to mark World Sleep Day and National Bed Month, we reached out to Hannah Shore, a sleep expert working with us in partnership with Silentnight, so that she could share her top tips for drifting off.

Also, to get a better understanding of the nation’s sleep health, we surveyed 2000 adults about their sleep habits and hang ups. A staggering 52% can’t remember the last time they had a perfect night’s sleep, 70% confessed that a bad night’s sleep has a negative impact on their mood, and more than three quarters shared that they’d feel like a new person if they ever got a really good night’s rest.

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Sleep expert Hannah Shore offers top tips on how to create a sleep haven

Tidy room, tidy mind

More than half of those who took part in our poll believed that a messy bedroom affects their sleep, despite 57% utilising their ‘floordrobe’ – essentially just leaving clothes on the floor each night instead of hanging them up. 28% admitted to hopping out of bed at one point to do a bit of last-minute tidying, while a quarter of people also don’t make their bed in the morning, leading to a trickier night’s sleep later on.

As well as encouraging sleepers to ban the ‘floordrobe’ in aid of drifting off, Hannah said:
“A tidy room allows the sleeper to de-stress. Keeping clear sides at all times can help you relax and fall asleep quicker.”

Additionally, almost half of those we asked believe that their bedroom is not laid out perfectly – although 37% can’t put their finger on exactly why. Our research found that people have tried different ways to make their bedroom a more relaxing environment, including getting new pillows (34%), a new mattress (29%) and blackout curtains (25%).

It’s no surprise that nailing down basics such as bedding can significantly improve the quality of your rest. According to Hannah: “How you sleep predicts the thickness of your pillow. Front and back sleepers need a thinner pillow, whereas side sleepers need a thicker pillow to fill the gap between the ear and the shoulder.”

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TV to switch off to

Hannah also revealed that watching TV at night isn’t always bad – as long as the content is calming.

She said:
“You’ve all heard about blue light, how this can stop you from sleeping and we should be off our phones for at least an hour before bed – but this doesn’t work for everyone. Blue light isn’t always bad, and most devices now come with an eye comfort mode setting anyway, swapping out those harsh blue tones for softer yellow ones.”

“It’s the content we are looking at which causes more harm. Looking at the news or watching something tense can all lead our bodies to be on edge, producing wake promoting hormones like cortisol. Instead of watching anything overly addictive and intense like Happy Valley or Line of Duty, which makes you think ‘just one more’, it’s best to watch something you’ve already seen before like re-runs of Friends or a relaxing programme.”

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Stick to a healthy nightly routine

What you eat, drink and wear can also contribute to the quality of your sleep. Hannah explains:
“You should avoid eating large meals late in the evening, because digestion causes our body temperature to raise when it should be dropping. Also be mindful of what you drink as caffeine can block receptors in our brain, making our bodies think we are not tired.”

“Alcohol can act as a sedative for the first phase of sleep, but it then acts as a stimulant, leaving the rest of the night’s sleep light and fractured. Lots of alcohol-free drinks contain lots of sugar which can also keep you awake.”

Then, of course, there’s nightwear! “PJs should be loose fitted and light, while bed socks can increase the blood circulation which can help with cooling the body down.”

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Make restful sleep a priority

Simon Ewins, managing director at Premier Inn said:

“It seems there’s a big sleep gap across the nation, with millions not nodding off how they’d like. Hannah’s top tips can help you create a space that helps you achieve good quality sleep, and the benefits in day-to-day life that come with this.

Sleep Awareness Week is a great time to look at our bedroom spaces, and to assess whether we are getting the best rest we can, or if there is anything we can do to improve it. Our rooms are designed to ensure everyone has different options to match their sleeping habits.”

The full range of bedding used across Premier Inn hotels in the UK, including a brand-new, exclusive mattress designed by Premier Inn and Silentnight is available to purchase online.

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Sleep expert Hannah Shore's top 10 tips for a better night's sleep

Banish the floordrobe!
  1. TV and devices
    Tech isn’t always bad. If you are using a device before bed, use it in eye comfort mode to create calming sounds, listen to podcasts or even help with certain breathing exercises. Avoid viewing content such as news that causes tension and promotes wake hormones.

  2. Socks
    Bed socks can increase the blood circulation which can help with cooling the body down. Ideally your body temperature needs to naturally drop by a couple of degrees to get good quality sleep.

  3. Clutter
    Banish the floordrobe! A cluttered bedroom can cause the mind to feel stressed and stress is sleep’s worst enemy. Ensuring you have places to put away all your belongings, for example a storage or ottoman bed, and keeping sides and floors clear can really help this.
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4. Pillows
Finding the right pillow to support your sleeping position is a must. If you are a front or back sleeper, you will need a thinner pillow. Side sleepers will need a thicker pillow to fill the gap between the ear and the edge of the shoulder.

5. Dark Light
When you are going to bed try keeping the light levels in your room low by using a bed side lamp instead of the bright ceiling light. Dim light helps our bodies to start producing sleep hormones, like melatonin.

6. Bright Light
Bright light when the sun rises too early can wake you easily by telling your body to stop producing sleep hormones. At home make sure to have blackout blinds or curtains, or even an eye mask to block out those bright lights.

7. Working
We often take our work to bed with us, either trying to remember to do things the following day or literally checking emails whilst we should be sleeping. This can cause our minds to work overtime, struggle to switch off and therefore struggle to fall asleep. If you do need to work in your bedroom try to set up a dedicated workspace, with a desk if possible, so you can create separation between work and sleep.

8. Comfort
Comfort is essential for a good night’s sleep. From different types of pillows, a new mattress or even adding a padded mattress topper can improve sleep comfort. Some hotel chains (like Premier Inn) sell their beds and bedding so is the perfect opportunity to ‘try before you buy’.

9. Bed sharing
Sharing a bed is great, cuddles can relax and destress you. However, the number one cause for disrupted sleep is partner disturbance so make sure you have the right conversations and prioritise each other’s sleep. Separate beds and bedrooms are more common than you think.

10. Winddown routine
As adults we often forget the importance of a good winddown routine, allowing your mind and body to switch off from everything that has happened throughout the day.  Our body needs time to relax so it can stop producing all those wake promoting hormones and allow our bodies to realise it is time to sleep.

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