To celebrate World Sleep Day, here are our top five tips for helping get enough health and wellness boosting ZZZs.
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. But our busy lives are making it more and more difficult to get the quantity of sleep our brains and bodies need. Putting in place some good habits is a great starting point, so here are five tips to help you get started. Of course, regular insomnia can be distressing and have a negative impact on your health, so we’d encourage anyone suffering with recurring problems to go and see their GP for some professional advice.
have a plan
Preparation for a good night’s sleep should actually start in the morning. It’s important to have a set sleep schedule so your body and mind get into a regular sleep rhythm. And this can mean those lovely weekend lie-ins are best avoided. Set a regular time for getting up and for going to bed that means you’re getting a full 8 hours of quality sleep every night. Then stick to this as closely as you can. Obviously, that’s not always possible, especially on those Saturday and Sunday mornings, but try and avoid the temptation to laze around in bed until late morning as your sleep quality is likely to suffer over the next few days. As part of your morning routine, sleep experts also recommend exposing yourself to sunlight for as long as possible as this helps kick start our bodies’ production of serotonin. Serotonin helps balance our mood throughout the day and, helpfully from a sleep perspective, also converts to melatonin in the evening – the hormone which makes our mind and body feel sleepy at night.
get some exercise
Daily exercise is essential for all aspects of our health and wellbeing, and this includes its effect on our sleep patterns. Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise every day will boost your chances of feeling tired and getting the deep sleep your body needs. Getting the timing of the exercise right is important though. Try and avoid anything too vigorous close to bedtime as this can rev up adrenaline levels making it more difficult to fall asleep and less likely you’ll achieve deep sleep once you do manage to nod off. Two hours before bedtime is generally acknowledged as the cut-off for heavy exercise.
watch your diet
What we eat and drink can have a significant impact on the quality of our sleep. Caffeine is obviously a key one to watch out for here, but it’s not just coffee that we have to be careful off. Caffeine is also found in chocolate, soft drinks and teas, all of which are best avoided close to bedtime. Eating large meals before bed is also a no-no. Ideally, we should avoid eating meals within two hours of going to bed. The choice of food is important too. For example, spicy and rich foods can cause indigestion which are likely to leave your stomach gurgling away at the exact same time you’re trying to be more relaxed and drift off.
establish a ritual
We’re creatures of habit and getting into a daily pre-bedtime routine can really help improve our sleep quality. The aim of the game is to de-stress and to relax, so things like going for a walk or stretching for a few minutes before bed can help your mind and body start winding down. A warm bath or shower is also a great way to calm the mind and has the added benefit of forcing us to put our tech down for a while before bed. Also, it’s often the worry of tomorrow’s challenges and actions that keep us awake at night, so take control of these swirling thoughts by writing a to-do list for the following day before going to bed. This will make you feel calmer and more organised, just at the time when you need it most.
a helping hand
If you’ve managed to establish some good habits but are still struggling with sleep, then there are some natural remedies which can provide a helping hand. CBD is spoken about as one of these but there a number of others too, including drinking chamomile tea or using lavender body oil. Technology too can provide a helping hand with a number of brilliant meditations apps now available plus podcasts specifically designed to help you nod off. Our personal favourite at Aire HQ is the Spotify podcast, Boring Books for Bedtime…’ Bad Drains and How to Test Them’ anyone?