2017 brought us the clean sleeping and smart sleep tracking trends, so what does 2018 have in store for our shut-eye?
Sleep expert Dr Petra Simic, clinical director of Bupa Health Clinics, has shared her predicted sleep trends for 2018.
1. Sleep binging
For most people, a full night’s sleep is an unrealistic expectation but when you get the opportunity for a good, long sleep – take it, says Dr Simic. In fact, binge on it.
“Recharging your batteries with an extra-long slumber at the weekend or during a holiday is something we should embrace and enjoy," she says.
"Regular sleep binges will help your body to do all the repairing it needs to do – so don’t feel guilty about having an early night, or an extra lie in.”
2. The rise of the anti-trackers
You might think your sleep tracker will help you get more sleep, but it can be more of a hindrance, says Dr Simic.
“Putting a number on how many hours of sleep we should be getting can exacerbate anxiety about not being able to get enough," she explains.
"With more of us counting sleep rather than sheep, 2018 should be the time when we reflect as individuals on what we need, and what we can realistically achieve.
“If you are someone who struggles to nod off or you find yourself waking up during the night, don’t be tempted to check the time. This immediately causes your brain to calculate how many hours of sleep you’ve clocked and stimulates it with light, making it less likely that you’ll fall asleep again quickly.”
3. Made-to-measure sleep
“I hear people say all the time that they ‘don’t sleep well’, however, when you dig a bit deeper, most of the time they are comparing themselves with those (literally) closest to them – usually their partners or the people they live with,” says Dr Simic.
“Instead of judging yourself on the habits of others, ask yourself how you feel about your own sleep. The amount of sleep someone needs really varies, and we need to think about our individual needs when it comes to getting a good night’s rest.”
4. Losing the race to bed
In the evenings, we naturally feel sleepier and more relaxed but then once we realise the time, we lose that chilled state as we race around to get everything done before we can go to bed. 2018 is set to be the year we take a bit more care of how we prep ourselves for sleep.
“I encourage people to lose this race to bed and instead do all the necessary bed-preparation before they sit down to relax. Get your PJs on and teeth brushed before chilling out. Avoid screens, dim the lights and let yourself relax. Once you feel sleepy, just take yourself straight to bed.”
5. Naps are key
Who doesn't love a nap? A short nap of 20-30 minutes can help improve mood, alertness and performance, especially in the early afternoon when blood sugar levels are low. So for 2018, we'll be working in more power naps.
“Just remember that naps shouldn’t replace long periods of sleep, as this is when the real work begins and our bodies really get the chance to rejuvenate and repair.
“And like everything to do with rest, it’s entirely personal – naps may be great for some while others will find it difficult to include in their day-to-day routine – and that’s absolutely fine!” adds Dr Simic.