The secret to a restful sleep
16 million adults in the UK are sleep deprived. Are you tossing and turning? Counting the hours until your alarm? You’re probably sleep deprived.
Sleep is very important. The smallest change in your sleep routine can have an impact on your wellbeing. If you are feeling stressed, feeling strained mentally or physically it may be down to you not getting enough sleep. Here are some tips for achieving the best and most peaceful slumber:
“The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.”Matthew Walker, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
Be consistent with your routine
Most adults need between 6-9 hours of sleep a night. If you’re not getting this it can take a huge toll on your health, both physical and mental. The key is to set yourself a routine: going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday (even on weekends if you can help it!)
With our busy schedules this can be hard to maintain. Creating a to do list is a great way to stay on top of things and can allow you to find time for yourself. The key is to not make your list too overwhelming, it needs to be achievable. Find time for yourself within this, allowing for a reasonable bed time.
Try to relax
We know our lives can be busy and very stressful, so it is important to try to relax and look after yourself. Practicing self-care is a great way to switch of from work and also aids in getting a restful nights sleep. Acts of self care can include reading a book, practicing meditation, taking a hot bath or anything you find personally relaxing. We know it can be hard to find time for yourself, but even if you just take 15-30 minutes out of your day to pamper yourself it can be beneficial in reducing stress, creating a positive mindset and achieving a good nights sleep.
Exercise is important for your physical health but it is also essential for your mental health and can play a part in your sleep quality. Try yoga, running, HIT or weight training at least 3 hours before you hit the hay. Studies show that frequent exercise can help you fall asleep 13 minutes faster and stay asleep 18 minutes longer. This is because exercise can relieve anxiety and stress, a main cause for anxiety. Exercise also increases time spent in deep sleep, the most physically restorative sleep phase which helps boost our immune system, support cardiac health, and control stress and anxiety. Even a short walk can help with your sleep. If you’re struggling to find time for exercise or feel unmotivated, try walking for 10 minutes or longer. Any movement is better than no movement!
What you are eating and drinking
What you’re consuming can play a big part on your sleep quality. Having a nightcap before bed may seem like a great way to wind down after a stressful day and relax. However, alcohol can play a huge toll on your sleep, making you miss out on great quality sleep. The consumption of alcohol before bed disturbs your sleep cycle by only allowing you the lighter stages of sleep and robbing you from REM sleep. While you might getting your full 6-9 hours of sleep, the lack of REM sleep can leave you feeling groggy and unrested.
Large meals before bed can also cause problems to your sleep cycle by causing indigestion, try to stop eating a couple of hours before you go to bed.
Creating a safe space for sleep
Feeling comfortable in your environment is essential to getting a restful nights sleep. If you work in the same space that you sleep, you will struggle to switch off from your busy schedule. This may result in a restless, worry filled night. Try instead only spending time in your bedroom when you really need to, it will help your brain associate the space with relaxation, rather than work stress and worries.
Try to keep your room dark and cool, you will sleep better if your room is kept on the cooler side. In addition to this, avoid any distracting equipment in your room such as a TV or computer. The bright and blue lights increase alertness and can restrain the production of melatonin (the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle). Instead, try to avoid electronic devices 30 minutes before bed (yes, that includes your phone!). Opt instead for reading a book, practicing mindfulness, or even listening to some relaxing music. Keep your bedroom as a safe and calm space for relaxation and sleep.
If you can’t sleep, get out of bed!
It may seem counterproductive to leave your bed when you cannot sleep, but it is the most helpful thing to do when tossing and turning. If you have been lying in bed, hoping sleep will find you, get out of bed! The worrying of not being able to sleep and counting the hours left can cause anxiety and make the act of falling asleep even harder! Instead, get up and do something that you find relaxing. Whether that is reading your favorite book, or making yourself a hot drink (caffeine free of course!). When you start to feel tired, it is time to try again for sleep. Try not to put pressure on yourself as this can cause more worry and stress when trying to fall asleep.
What to take away
We spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping, so it is important to value this time and get the best out of our sleep. By making your space more comfortable, avoiding electronics, practicing self-care and watching what you’re consuming you can create a healthy sleep routine. A good night sleep benefits the brain and body: improving your memory, creativity, immunity and cardiac health are just a few of the benefits sleep can bring.
If you feel like you’re not getting enough sunlight, try taking vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with disrupted sleep, fatigue and poor sleep quality. Our Family Immune Syrup is a great source of vitamin D to help support your immune system and may help with your sleep quality.