“Having peace, happiness, and healthiness is my definition of beauty. And you can’t have any of that without sleep.” – Beyoncé
A good night’s sleep is so important to our wellbeing. This fact is likely not new information to you; we have long been aware of the connection between sleep and a decent quality of life. We know that a poor night’s sleep can significantly impact your mood and functionality the following day, nay, even the following week! And we are also aware that a quality kip can mend a multitude of ills. But what are the secrets to consistently sleeping well, and what can we do to improve our sleeping habits in general? Lets take a look, shall we?
We talk a lot about our ‘body-clock’ when it comes to sleep. This is no myth; our bodies respond to regularity and routine very well. It is true, our bodies cannot, because life is varied, be put through identical routines every day. However, if we can find some consistency, our bodies will thank us for it. So, try and make sure that you go to bed and get up at around the same time every day, weekends included.
2. Declutter Your Room
Tidy your room! It’s not just a nag, it really makes a huge difference when it comes to switching off and getting to sleep. Its all about atmosphere. A tidy room is a much more ambient and calming place than a messy one. Also, if you are trying to nod off, but have various bits off clutter pulling your attention, you are going to be much more distracted. A tidy room ensures the minimum amount of sensory disruption.
A comfortable temperature is important to an undisrupted nights slumber. This is not too tricky in the winter if you have a decent duvet. In the summer you may want to switch to a sheet, commandeer a fan or open a window. You will have your own preferences, but studies suggest that somewhere between 18º and 24º is the optimum temperature range.
4. A Quality Bed
Yes, replacing your mattress or pillows is a bit of an overhaul, but it may be the one key to fixing any sleeping issue you might be having. The most important thing is that the surfaces you are sleeping on are supportive. The average life expectancy of a mattress is around 10 years, pillows should be good for around 5. If you have surpassed either of these it might be time to invest in some updates!
5. Pre-Sleep Routine
Your habits just before bed are just as important to the quality of your sleep. The big one is screens! Your brain needs to wind down before bed to avoid your thoughts taking over when trying to get your head down. The light that emits from the screens of our devices and T.Vs is extremely activating to the brain. Instead, engage in calming activities, such as reading, colouring or even a short meditation.
6. No Naps
Napping during the day can be so tempting and is often quite beneficial in the short term. However, it is detrimental to your overall sleeping pattern. Naps take away from your tiredness at bedtime, which can lead to frustration when trying to sleep, leading to your brain waking up, leading to more lost sleep time, and so on! A great alternative to napping is, in fact, engaging in physical activity. This gets your body and brain pumping blood around the system again. This could be anything from doing the washing up to going out for a walk or run.
7. Food and Drink
Eating well is, of course, central to our general wellbeing. But you might want to consider whether how and when you are eating is affecting your sleep patterns. The most common mistake is eating to close to bed time. A burst of energy is the last thing you need before going to bed; the effect will be especially detrimental if you are indulging in excess caffeine or sugar. Try to stop eating at least three hours before bed.
8. Use Up Your Energy
A tired body is a body that will sleep. Those that exercise regularly tend to get better sleep as they regularly use up all of their physical energy during the day. This does not necessarily mean that you need to start running marathons on a daily basis, but you should take a look at how active your life is. The change you need might be as simple as walking to the train station in the morning instead of taking the bus!
By Chris Thomson
A whirring brain is sleeping’s natural enemy! Perhaps quality sleep is just a neurological declutter away. Declutter Your Mind and Get Back on Track with Your Work Day
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