We all know how it feels to be tossing and turning at night, unable to sleep – it’s torture! Sleep is so important for many reasons. Lack of sleep leads to an inability to focus, loss of memory and mood-swings. Sleep is a time for your body and mind to regenerate and recuperate from daily, ongoing and past stresses. There are so many things you can do to increase sleep quality and we wanted to share some with you..
- Reading – Switch computer screens for a good book. Reading is one of the best ways to unwind from daily stresses and escape reality by getting lost in another world. Reading is actually prescribed by doctors to those who suffer from depression and anxiety with positive feedback from patients who have tried it. Studies show that those who read before bed are smarter and produce better test results than those who don’t.
- A hot bath – This causes your temperature to rise and then fall afterwards, helping you to relax. Your body needs to reduce temperature before it can sleep; this naturally occurs around two hours before you go to sleep – another reason why having a bedtime routine is vital. However, it is important that you don’t bathe right before jumping into bed, as your body temperature will stay elevated and your mind alert, making it difficult to sleep. Allow your body temperature to cool, then hit the sack!
- Calming tea – Our favourite sleepy tea is ‘Night Time’ from a local organic tea company – Pukka! It combines a sleepy crush of oat flower, soothing lavender, and silky-sweet limeflower together with the magic of valerian. Another herbal favourite is chamomile – the perfect plant to calm you before sleep. You can easily make Chamomile tea yourself by drying out the flowers before brewing them. However, steer clear of caffeinated teas (such as green tea) which may keep you awake!
- Yoga – One of the best ways to calm the body and mind, release stress and tension as well as meditate. So roll out your mat and do 5-10 minutes before bed (we’ve put a link to a short, relaxing yoga sequence below).
- Be physically active during the day – There are countless studies to evidence an improvement in sleep after exercise. Research has found that when physical activity is carried out during the day people have increased sleep duration, less mid-night wake ups and are able to go to sleep earlier. Research has also found that people feel less sleepy during the day when they had done more exercise.
- Ditch certain supplements/caffeine – Be careful what you put in your body, some supplements will keep you awake all night and they don’t even warn you on the packet – do your research and find out which time of day is best to take your supplements. As for caffeine, it’s a no brainer – no caffeine in the afternoon to be safe and no more than two cups of coffee a day. You could even try cutting it out completely to see if this helps!
- No eating after 8pm – If your stomach is still working hard to digest your food, when will it have time to rest and recuperate? An overly full stomach causes lack of sleep, which can slow down your metabolism and make you gain weight.
- Reduce blue LCD screen light – Avoid screens when possible or use a red filter to eliminate the damaging blue LED screen light (we use Flux) and invert the colours as well as reduce the white point on your mobile phone.
A winding-down ritual can help people fall asleep faster and enjoy a better quality of sleep throughout the night. Avoid screens and relax by taking a bath or reading a book. We find that it is most effective to try as many of the above tips and tricks as possible in combination.
Physical Activity/Sleep study