Don’t Just Sleep On It
Tune into a better night’s sleep
There’s plenty that influences our sleeping habits – and not all of us can do it with our eyes closed. Least we not forget, 2020 has been a year to reckon with – stress, mental health, Netflix, kids (just to name a few) all pushing a sound night’s sleep to the side, thus creating further problems for wellbeing.
Sleeping problems aren’t mutually exclusive, they effect more of the population than many of us actually realise.
“We don’t take sleep seriously,” says Dr Alex Bartle of The Sleep Well Clinic. “It’s one of the three pillars of health – exercise, nutrition and sleep. We spend a third of our lives sleeping, so you can imagine how important it must be for our health. From improving mental and physical health, to aiding the immune system, blood pressure, and so much more. Sleep impacts so many aspects of our daily lives.”
If you’ve just rolled over to the realities of your sleeping habits – eek! The good news is that there are things we can all do to improve sleep quality.
Watch what you eat
Avoid sugary or high-fat foods – they may energise but they won’t help you wind down at the end of the day. Stimulants – smoking, alcohol or caffeine – within two-to-three hours of bedtime is a no-no. If you’re eating late then eat light, opt for warm, milky drinks or herbal teas if you need something to relax with (checkout our herb guide ).
An hour of quiet time before bed can do wonders for the mind – read, meditate, do yoga, or listen to music. Power off electronics to reduce blue light exposure and avoid using your phone or computer at least two hours prior to sleep.
Set your body clock
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day (including weekends) establishes a regular body clock cycle and makes falling asleep easier. So, keep your daytime routines the same, even if you’ve slept poorly the night before try not to sleep in too late or nap during the day.
“We need to be sleeping for at least seven-to-eight hours each night,” advises Alex. “Anything less than that could lead to chronic condition sand is detrimental to overall health – especially for the brain.”
Exercise speeds up the metabolism, clears the head and helps to improve overall mood and concentration. The more energy you use, the better the sleep benefits – even light walking has its pros.
“If you still struggle, go get checked out by a professional,” says Alex. “Sleep disorders such as apnoea, insomnia and snoring, are all common and there are treatments available.”
There’s an app for that…
From tracking your sleeping habits, to keeping a sleep diary, to meditation or relaxing sleep music, there is a range of apps to tap into. Try Buddhify for mindfulness and meditations, or Noisli for white noise and relaxing playlists.