When we think of healthy habits, we typically think of eating well, exercising or not smoking without giving much regard to sleep at all. While sleep might seem expendable, particularly in the quest to ‘get more done’, the truth is sleep is incredibly important for our health. Poor sleep can have a multitude of negative effects on your body, which may lead to serious health issues if not addressed. With that in mind, we share some easy tips for you to try that will hopefully help you get a more restful and rejuvenating night’s sleep.
1. Stick to a schedule –
If you groaned a little then, we get it! Who wants to be ruled by a clock telling us when we should go to bed? However, our bodies are creatures of habit and irregular sleep patterns muck up your circadian rhythm meaning your brain might not be getting the signal to go to sleep when it should.
2. Create a relaxing bedtime ritual –
The hour before you go to bed is important for your brain and body to start winding down. Ideally, this will see you off screens! Your bedtime ritual might include reading a book, having a hot bath or shower, meditating, diffusing relaxing essential oils, deep breathing or listening to relaxing music. Experiment. See what it is that gets you relaxed and incorporate that into your new bedtime routine.
3. Exercise daily –
Exercise isn’t just good for weight management/loss. Exercising during daylight hours is proven to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, reduce total wakefulness through the night, anxiety and increase your total amount of sleep for the night.
4. Check your surroundings –
How comfy is your mattress and pillow? What’s the temperature like in your bedroom? Is the room dark? Is it quiet? If your bedroom isn’t conducive to sleep then this might explain the issues you’ve been having. Things like ear plugs, white noise machine, blackout curtains, eye mask or fans might be needed to help you sleep better.
5. Avoid caffeine, heavy meals & alcohol –
Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine can all disrupt sleep. If you can, avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bedtime. If hungry, try a small snack. Alcohol increases the symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns. With caffeine staying in your system for 6–8 hours, it’s a good idea to avoid it from 3pm onwards as it stops your body from relaxing naturally.
6. Cut out screen time –
The light emanated from computer screens, phone screens and TVs actually activates your brain by throwing off blue light that mimics daylight. If you can’t get off the screens, try wearing blue light glasses or download an application called f.lux for your computer. Search blue light apps for your mobile as well. Around the house, be sure to switch off bright lights and use lamps instead.
There’s no question that sleep is crucial to helping you function properly and stay healthy. If you’re still having trouble sleeping, please make an appointment with us to investigate further.