Skip to main content
Home » Sleep » Dr Ranj’s top tips will help you power down for a better night’s sleep

Dr Ranj (pictured above)

Furniture Village’s Sleep and Wellness Ambassador

Increasing numbers of us are dealing with the effects of insomnia. Learn some tips from Dr Ranj to improve your sleep health and increase your physical and mental wellbeing.

During Dr Ranj’s participation in Strictly Come Dancing in 2018, his professional dancing partner, Janette Manrara, had three expectations of him. “First, she wanted me to rehearse and give everything I could,” remembers Dr Ranj, who is also Sleep and Wellness Ambassador at retailer, Furniture Village. “Second, she wanted me to eat properly. Third, she wanted me to sleep — because whatever you’re doing, the likelihood is that you’ll do it better if you’ve slept well.”

Prioritise quality sleep for health

Dr Ranj’s advice: don’t scrimp on sleep. During sleep, our bodies repair tissue, rebalance hormones and promote growth, especially for younger people. Quality sleep boosts pain tolerance, strengthens immunity plus lowers risks of heart disease, stroke and cancer.

It also enhances mental performance crucial for learning and stress management. “There’s a misconception that sleep is when our bodies and brains switch off,” says Dr Ranj. “But, actually, it’s a very active process.”

Why many of us are having trouble sleeping

The trouble is increasing insomnia. In fact, according to a Furniture Village survey, 46% of us complain that we’re not getting enough sleep. The pace of modern life doesn’t help. “We try to fit more into our days than ever,” agrees Dr Ranj.

“This can spill over into our sleep time, making us stressed and anxious. Also, as a society, we’re collectively more stressed. We’re suffering from the after-effects of the pandemic, there are socio-political tensions and there’s a cost of living crisis. Plus, we’re on our screens a lot. Using them too close to bedtime is a mentally stimulating activity, and the light from the screens can interfere with sleep hormones.”

46% of us complain that we’re
not getting enough sleep.

Manage stress, move more, practice mindfulness

However, there are things you can do to get better sleep. Ask yourself how you are dealing with stress — are you thriving, surviving or drowning? — and get help if you need it.

Also, start moving more. “When your physical health gets better, your sleep gets better and you feel better,” says Dr Ranj. “And — as I discovered from dancing — when you move, your muscles release chemicals that flow around your body and into your brain and have a direct antidepressant effect.” Additionally, there are mindfulness and breathing techniques you can use to calm the stress response and help you drift off.

Better sleep environment for quality rest

Establish a good sleep routine with what Dr Ranj calls a ‘power down hour.’ That means no screens before bedtime and watching your caffeine intake. Your bedroom should be cool, calm, quiet and dark, with a comfortable pillow and mattress that signals to your body that it’s time to sleep. If your mattress is more than seven years old, consider changing it.

“Comfort is important to sleep quality,” notes Dr Ranj. “There’s a lot of technology that goes into mattress development, so whether you prefer a softer or firmer mattress, it’s worth going into a store to try before you buy — and talk to the retailer about what will be best for you. Go for the best your budget and space will allow because a mattress is an investment in your wellbeing.”

Don’t underestimate sleep and sleep issues

If you’re taking steps to improve your sleep but still having problems, see your GP, or speak to a trained sleep advisor. The Sleep Charity, in partnership with Furniture Village, offers a confidential National Sleep Helpline service. Dial 03303 530 541.

Never underestimate the healing and revitalising power of sleep. “On TV, when I talk about being healthy, the first thing I’ll point to is the importance of diet and exercise,” says Dr Ranj. “But we shouldn’t forget that sleep is important too. We need to think of it as an essential part of life.”

Call the National Sleep Helpline: 03303 530 541

Next article