How is your sleep hygiene? Do you wake up feeling rested? Do you feel you get enough sleep? Do you realise how important good sleep is?
Sleep hygiene could be the answer to your good nights sleep. If you are an adult you should be getting between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Children need more (anywhere from 9-14 hours depending on age) and the elderly need more naps (as they don’t get into the deep stages of sleep enough).
So why is sleep so vital? Well sleep is critical for optimal health and bodily functions, you need it to maintain mood (a good one that is) and for the health of your immune and endocrine system.
Here are some quick tips for getting into good practice of sleep hygiene:
- Go to bed (sleep) at the same time each day – preferably between 10-11pm.
- Wake up at the same time every day – preferably with the optimal 8-9 hour time line (so between 6-7am).
- Exercise daily – usually 30 minutes – which will promote healthy serotonin levels. This exercise does not have to be vigorous, even a long walk in the fresh air will be enough to feel the benefits. BUT do not exercise 30 minutes – 1 hour before going to bed as this will raise your cortisol levels and impact your ability for a restful sleep.
- Minimise day time naps – having said that if you feel drowsy around 2-4 pm that is a sign that your body needs to nap, but keep it short.
- Avoid stimulants such as tea, coffee, chocolate, sugar, alcohol nicotine or etc. before bed as this can excite you.
- Avoid drinking or eating a large meal before bed. A small snack containing protein and carbohydrates will serve you better – sliced apples with almond butter is the perfect night time snack. Or a small banana smoothie with almond/nut butter, coconut milk and/or figs.
- Herbal teas (non caffeinated) can also be a big help. Choose from varieties that contain: passion flower, valerian, lemon balm, chamomile, and lavender. Blends work particularly well here.
- Practice meditation, even a short 5 minutes of meditation before bed can put you into a relaxed state ready for sleep.
- Keep your bedroom cool, as we enter into fall this is the perfect time to have a window open with a cool night breeze coming in.
- Keep all electronic devices out of the bedroom, even an LED alarm clock can impact your sleep cycle – yes, we can still receive light coming in through our eyes lids even when they are closed. If you need an alarm clock, keep it on the floor or turned away from you so the light is not directly in your eye line.
- Stop watching television or using your iPad, phone etc. at least 1 hour before bed but no less than half an hour. The light emitted from these devices can seriously impact your sleep cycles.
- Last but not least, lavender essential oil drops onto your pillow or in a vaporiser can be very helpful to still your busy mind.
Finally, simply try to relax a little more during your day. If you can, work a 20 minute meditation into your morning routine and the benefits will see you being more calm in every aspect of your life you will start to deal with situations in a more calm and rational way and not always in your “fight or flight” mode, therefore lowering your cortisol levels and leading to a more peace full sleep life.
Let me know if any of these work for you, simply leave me a comment below. I would love to hear your experiences.
Sleep Well xx