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Getting enough sleep is an integral part of our wellbeing! Without enough shut eye we can experience all sorts of problems; from poor memory and concentration, to mood swings, and even weight gain!

Studies show the many benefits of getting regular, quality sleep…

Sleep strengthens your immune system, lowers risk of cardiac illness, restores your body, improves your mood, boosts your memory, focus and creativity, and makes you an all round nicer person!

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I’m sure we all know how much better we feel when we are well rested and rejuvenated!

But sometimes that 8 hours of restful sleep can be elusive!

Whether it’s pesky worries, anxiety or stress keeping you awake, or children who need you through the night – or just a case of good old insomnia, the good news is that there are steps that you can take to improve your sleep.

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1. Stick to a Routine

One really helpful habit is to go to bed – and rise at the same time each day. We all have an internal body clock that regulates our sleep hormones – and this clock can do a much better job when there is a stable routine.

When you begin to feel tired in the evening, it’s best not to ignore it, this is your body clock telling you it’s time for rest.

It might not be possible to stick to your routine every night, but try to make it most nights. Developing a sleep routine will eventually begin to help improve your zzz’s.

2. Wind Down & Unplug

What we do in the evening has a huge impact on whether or not we get a good night’s slumber.

Treat your evenings as a time for relaxation, especially the hour leading up to bedtime. This is the time to start unplugging and switching off from any stimulating activities and/or electronic devices. Artificial light has been proven to interfere with good sleep.

It’s also best to avoid eating meals during this time.

Try establishing a routine at night where you incorporate relaxing practices such as a warm bath, herbal teas, calm music or meditation, or diffusing soothing essential oils.

3. Avoid stimulants

This one probably seems obvious!

But it really is important if you are having trouble getting to sleep – and staying asleep, that you avoid stimulants such as alcohol, drugs, smoking and importantly … caffeine. Especially after around 4pm.

Having that glass of wine in the evening may feel relaxing, and whilst it may help you fall asleep faster – it is actually proven to interfere with the quality of your sleep.

4. Get Moving!

Studies show that engaging in just 30 minutes of exercise per day is a great way to not only fall asleep quicker and easier, but also to experience deeper, restorative sleep.

Exercise encourages slow wave sleep, a deep state that allows the body to replenish itself and even improve our mood!

There is a catch though, it is best to avoid heavy exercise in the evening too close to bed. Yoga or light stretching can be a great way to wind down in the evenings instead.

5. Keep your bed for sleep and sexy times

I’m sure we’ve all been in the situation where we are tossing and turning, watching the clock tick over only getting more and more frustrated.

If you haven’t fallen asleep within 30 minutes of trying, then this is when it’s important to actually get out of bed and go into another dark room to do something really boring and unstimulating…

Research shows that it is important to train the brain to only associate bed with sleep and sex…nothing else!

*This also means not working or studying in bed during the day if you have trouble getting to sleep.

sleep, good sleep

You may not be able to force yourself to sleep- but you can definitely create healthy, supportive habits to help improve your chances of getting a great night’s rest!

And remember that if sleep is still a problem, you should always consult your GP.

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