Pioneering sleep researchers from the University of Surrey opened a pop-up sleep lab in London as part of Universities Week 2014, giving visitors the chance to discover their sleep personalities.
Surrey’s pop-up sleep lab was at the heart of a week-long free public exhibition at the Natural History Museum that aimed to promote the value and importance of university research through interactive exhibits and demonstrations.
The University of Surrey’s stand included three interactive zones where visitors could meet our inspiring sleep researchers including Professor Derk-Jan Dijk and Dr Simon Archer, find out whether they have an owl or lark sleep personality, unravel the secrets of the human body clock and learn more about the impact different colours of light have on our sleep.
Learn more about Universities Week.
How to sleep better – top tips for a good night’s sleep
- Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Your body clock naturally tells you when to sleep - don’t ignore it. Going to bed too early can disturb sleep and going to bed too late may not provide enough sleep
- Spend time outdoors. Light regulates secretion of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. Natural light in the morning can help to synchronise the body clock
- Get regular exercise each day, but not just before bed. Good exercise can improve sleep
- Make your bedroom restful. Maintain a comfortable temperature and keep noise down with thick curtains or earplugs. Don’t expose yourself to too much light prior to bed - it can suppress the beneficial effects of melatonin
- Only use the bedroom for sleep and relaxation – don’t watch TV in bed or work on the computer
- Engage in stimulating activity just before bed – exercise, playing games, watching TV can stimulate the brain and make it harder to drop off
- Drink caffeine or alcohol before bed – caffeine interferes with pathways in the brain that promote sleep. Alcohol can help initiate sleep but it also fragments sleep, causes earlier wakening, more frequent bathroom trips, and can induce or worsen snoring
- Smoke before bed – nicotine is a stimulant
- Go to bed hungry – a light snack or milky drink can help but it is important not to eat too much before bed
- Nap in the evening – you may find a short daytime nap useful, but napping later in the day will reduce your sleep need and make it harder to fall asleep at night
- Worry about sleep – understand your sleep need (which includes naps and dozing) and don’t set unrealistic expectations
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