In our ever increasing, fast paced, goal driven, instant gratification world, messages are flying at us from all avenues. Rock stars sing: “sleep when I’m dead,” Electronic Dance Music Industry (EDM): “I can’t get no sleep” and other messages: “you snooze you lose…”
Sleep is so important for the body and mind. Sleep assists in fighting infections, healing and repairing heart and blood vessels. Sleep improves memory and helps with creativity. The amount of sleep you get, affects the quality of your life. A good night’s sleep assists in the performance level of your exercise routines as well.
The list goes on and on, but this is not a medical journal! Let’s dive straight into our seven tips to sleep better:
1. Be aware of what you eat and drink:
Never go to bed hungry, hunger pains keep the brain mentally alert. “Eating before bed” is currently controversial, but over-eating will cause discomfort, may cause weight gain and even reflux. Limit how much you drink before bed to prevent disruptive trips to the toilet in the middle of the night. Avoid drinking anything with caffeine at least a half hour to an hour before bed.
2. Stick to a sleep schedule:
Go to bed and wake up the same time every day, even over weekends and holidays! (This is not an easy one), BUT being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep/wake pattern and helps promote better sleep at night.
3. Limit naps (day time):
There is nothing better than a nap in the afternoon or over a weekend, but remember that it can interfere with night-time sleep, especially if you struggle with insomnia or poor sleep quality. Studies have shown that a 20-30 minute nap is more than sufficient, so if you have to have your “power nap” make it during the mid-afternoon.
4. Create a bedtime ritual:
Do the same “things” each night to send a message to your mind and body that it is time to rest. Ideas for a bedtime ritual include taking a relaxing bubble bath with candles, reading a book, listening to a beautiful piece of music, drinking a cup of Camomile Tea, writing in your gratitude journal or meditating. All these activities promote better sleep quality and help you transition from wakefulness to drowsiness.
5. Get comfortable:
Create a beautiful room ideal for resting and relaxation that promotes quality sleep. Consider using candles and aromatherapy oils for a relaxed atmosphere. Your mattress and pillows contribute to better sleep, as well as textural bedding.
6. Manage stress:
When your mind runs “wild and free,” and you have too much to do and think about before bedtime, your sleep is likely to suffer. Consider healthy ways to manage stress. Start with basics such as getting more organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Do breathing exercises, write your thoughts in a journal, write a “to do list” or use a “to do list” app. Meditation is recommended for stress and anxiety, give yourself permission to take a break; you owe yourself time for yourself.
Regular exercise promotes better sleep, it helps you fall asleep faster and enjoy a deeper sleep. Please remember if you exercise too close to bedtime, you could be too energised to fall asleep. Every person is different, find “your perfect time” for exercise and stay committed.
The occasional sleepless nights happens to the best of us, but if you often have trouble sleeping please contact a GP or Homeopath.