This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Australia, which closed in 2021.

You Know You're Not Getting Enough Sleep, So Here's A 3-Step Plan

There's nothing better than a good night's sleep.
Bringing work to bed is exactly what it looks like.
Bringing work to bed is exactly what it looks like.

If you're one of three Aussies getting less than six hours sleep a night, lend your ears (and put down the double-shot latte).

According to recent findings from the Sealy Sleep Census, not only are we not reaching the recommended guidelines of seven to nine hours each night, but we're doing so knowing that it comes at the expense of our performance.

The survey looked at the sleeping habits of 2,300 Australians and found 80 percent of respondents claimed they need seven hours or more to function effectively the next day.

And if you're someone that relies on the ample hours of the weekend to play catch-up, you'd be greatly mistaken.

"It's not enough to rely on the weekend to recover. We know that having insufficient sleep during the week, and then catching up on the weekend doesn't actually improve performance to the level it was was before that sleep debt," Dr Amy Reynolds, sleep scientist and Sealy Sleep expert told The Huffington Post Australia.

Ahead, Reynolds breaks down three simple steps to a better nighttime routine.

1. Understand that sleep isn't a switch we can flick

Obviously in a perfect world it would be but sadly, that's just not the case. Which means some groundwork is required before actually getting into bed.

"What we do during the evening before we go to bed is going to affect our sleep," Reynolds said.

Basically, you want to be giving your body cues to get sleepy. That means creating a regular nighttime routine. Whether it's reading, running a bath, cuddling your dog and so on.

"It's not just about the time we physically spend in bed, but the time before we get into bed is really important if we want to make the most of our sleep time."

2. Reduce technology one hour before bed

We know, you've heard it all before. But that's because it WILL help.

"Being engaged online, or even being exposed to the light of our devices, physiologically gives our body 'wake' cues which makes the process of falling and staying asleep more difficult," Reynolds said.

3. Treat sleep like you do diet and exercise

"All of the research suggests when you get more sleep it's beneficial for your overall health yet, sleep does not seem to get promoted like diet and exercise does in relation to wellbeing," Reynolds said.

It's about understanding how our lifestyle affects our sleep, and that it is something we can change.


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