Having a good sleep routine has endless benefits, it helps improve your attention and concentration, it keeps your heart healthy and your immune system strong, it supports healing and detoxification and is an important factor in maintaining healthy hormones.
When we are asleep, we “clear out” neurotransmitters and hormones in the brain to prevent brain fog, fatigue, low mood and anxiety. So all the more reason to prioritise your sleep.
Here are our 6 top tips for you to help you improve your sleep and reap the benefits…
1) Make sure you are not over stimulated.
Try to avoid alcoholic beverages within 3 hours of bedtime and limit caffeine-containing drinks or foods after 2pm, if you are particularly sensitive to caffeine, I’d suggest avoiding it after 12pm if possible. In terms of exercise it is good to know that aerobic (cardio) exercise can elevate your alertness for several hours, so if you can, try to exercise before 6pm or at least 3 hours before bedtime.
2) Plan your sleep by putting it into your schedule.
Plan for between 7 to 9 hours in bed, and where possible, go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day to help train your biological clock. Try to begin your bedtime routine 30minutes before you go to bed and avoid late afternoon or evening naps, especially naps longer than 45minutes. In terms of meal timing, try to finish all eating 3 hours prior to going to sleep, this allows your digestion to get underway and for your metabolism to return to baseline.
3) Relax the brain before bed time.
Have a wind-down routine before bedtime. Things such as stretching, meditation, face cleansing or writing down any concerns or tasks for the next day on a piece of paper. Try a hot bath with 1 – 2 cups of Epsom Salts (click here for a selection of Epsom salts to choose from) to help raise your body temperature before you sleep, relax your muscles and reduce tension.
4) Reduce bright light or blue light from your mobile/tablet.
Consider reading a good neutral book under low light to help with falling asleep. If you are using a tablet or phone for reading, make sure they are in the night-time setting and brightness is a slow as possible. Research shows that the blue light from electronic screens including smart phones and televisions can confuse our natural biological clock leading to a reduction in sleep quantity and quality.
5) Look at your sleep environment.
Where you sleep, including bed/bedding, light, noise and temperature. Try to turn down the lights wherever you are 15 minutes before going to bed, and remove any appliances or clocks that make a noise. Temperature, try to make your sleeping area the correct temperature range, aiming for it to be not too hot or too cold.
6) Avoid any anxiety-provoking activities close to bedtime.
This may include watching the news, reading stimulating, exciting materials or paying your bills. Try writing in your journal any disturbing thoughts that are running through your mind and maybe schedule a time within the next few days to deal with whatever is troubling you.
As with anything that you’d like to improve or change, it is always a good idea to try 1 or 2 things first for a few weeks. See if you notice a change and if you do, great, keep going! If not, then try adding something else in. Gradually over time you’ll have created lots of healthy sleep habits allowing you to feel full of energy, well balanced and ready to take on your day!
I hope you’ve found this helpful, if you have any questions at all do let me know, we’d love to hear from you.
To your health and wellness,
Áine & Sarah x