How to get a good night’s sleep

During both the day and night, a world of factors can influence how we sleep, from light and noise pollution to our own habits, to the inner workings of our bodies. We’ve teamed up with Furniture Village to bring you a 24-hour guide to everything that might impact your sleep.

4.44am The sun rises in London, and most birds will now begin their dawn chorus. If you don’t fancy a very early morning, make sure your curtains block out light and you have ear plugs, if you need them.

5am Farmers, commuters and those who like to exercise before work may be up at this hour. If it’s hours before your alarm and you’re wide awake it’s time to consider your diet and sleep habits.

7am Do you live in a built-up area? Then the rumble of traffic noise might wake you earlier than you’d like. 7am is the beginning of peak traffic period in most major towns and cities in the UK.

7.35am Rise and shine! This is the average wake-up time in the UK. If you’re still feeling sleepy, you might not have had 7-8 hours of sleep. 
Get the low down on what’s keeping you up >

8am Even if you’re feeling groggy when you first wake up, between 8am and 9am the average body is at its peak of cortisol production. This should help you to feel awake and alert.

9am Most schools and work places will begin their day between 8am and 10am so let’s hope you’re awake and have had a healthy breakfast packed with nutrients, to get you going. Find out how >

11am Mid-morning and many of us will be stopping for a cuppa and a snack. Nutritionist Libby Limon recommends a cup of green tea to energise you. Take a peek at what else she recommends >

1pm Lunch is often taken between the hours of noon and 2pm. This provides your body with fuel to get you through the day and essential nutrients to promote sleep later on.

2pm If you’re tired after lunch, dehydration could be a factor. Even a 1.5% loss of your body’s water weight can affect your energy levels and mood – so drink water regularly during the day.

4pm Ready to rumble? It’s the start of peak evening traffic time. You may be feeling tired after a long day, but if you’re sleepy on your way home, you’re not getting enough rest. Find out why > 

6pm While many of us are settling down after work, some shift workers are just getting started! They have to work extra hard to get a good sleep. Take a look at how to combat sleep distractions >

8pm For digestive ease, it’s recommended you avoid eating anything for three hours before bed – so this is the latest you should eat dinner. Discover how to eat your way to better sleep >

9pm As the sun goes down, your body produces more melatonin (a hormone which controls sleep), and less serotonin. Blue light disrupts this, so turn off your digital devices two hours before bed! When you’re abroad, the different time of sunrise and sunset will confuse your biological clock.
Learn how to get over jet lag here >

9.43pm Lighting-up time in London and many towns and cities. Streetlights must come on one half-hour after sunset, and vehicles must use their headlights on unlit roads. Black out blinds should help if your window faces a busy, or street-lit road >

11.35pm If you set your alarm for 7:35am, you should try to be asleep by this point to make sure you achieve a full 8 hours’ rest. It’s tempting to stay up late working, reading or watching box sets, but poor sleep can have serious health consequences. Find out what Dr Neil Stanley has to say about sleep, here >

4am The coldest part of the day occurs in the hours before sunrise. Find advice on how to achieve the perfect temperature for sleep, here >

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