Does this sound familiar…
I can’t sleep just yet as I have to finish this
I can’t seem to switch off
There’s always so much to do, it’s exhausting
I go to bed tired and I wake up tired……
Sleep – we all need it for our health, but are we getting enough quality sleep and if not what’s stopping us?
I do speak from experience when I say there is magic in sleep because it was very hard when I wasn’t getting any believe me, having personally experienced bouts of insomnia in the past.
The pressure to be switched on and active 24/7 has become the norm in society today, which unfortunately means there is the real danger that sleep is being pushed to the back of our priority list, with detrimental effects to our health.
Ask yourself now do you think you are getting enough sleep?
How many hours a night are you getting?
How do you feel when you when up?
If you are spending more time exhausted than you would like, it is probably worth looking at your sleeping habits as this maybe one of the core reasons for you feeling this way.
Sleep is essential to our health and wellbeing and lack of it can lead to a number of issues if unchecked including:
Increased stress hormone Cortisol, which in turn suppresses Melatonin a hormone that regulates our sleep cycles.
Poor digestion (down to the stress response kicking off)
Compromise decision making
High Blood Pressure
The list is pretty endless, so it is easy to see why sleep is so important to our health, so how do we get better at it? Well below I share some tips which I used to help me overcome insomnia and generally become a better sleeper:
How do we get a better night sleep?
1. Practice regular sleep rhythms by going to bed and waking up around the same time each day.
2. Create total quiet and darkness in your bedroom. If this is not possible buy an sleeping mask. I have one and it works a treat! Complete darkness is the best way to encourage Melatonin to do it’s thing.
3. If you must drink coffee avoid or significantly reduce that intake after midday as it can really affect your sleep (not in a good way!!!!)
4. Get regular exposure to daylight for at least 20 minutes a day because the sunlight triggers your brain to release melatonin which is vital for healthy sleep. This is a great reminder to take that lunch break.
5. Eat no later than two hours before you go to bed because eating a heavy meal before bedtime will impede your body’s natural overnight detoxification process. Aka you are more likely to get a disturbed night sleep when eating too late.
6. When exercising avoid doing a session late at night because it takes a while for the cortisol and adrenaline to wear off, which off course can affect you falling asleep.
7. Write down your worried thoughts before bedtime so you can free up your mind and drop into a deep and restful sleep. I journal every night without fail and always finish it off with something I am thankful for.
8. Switch off that technology. We have all heard this one but it actually works. With mobile phones being ever present in our lives there is the tendency to take them everywhere with us including the bedroom. I have a rule that I don’t look at my phone after 9pm at night and it no longer sits next to my bed as my alarm clock. Instead I invested in an actual alarm clock. Why because the blue light from phones / ipads has been shown to affect levels of the sleep-inducing hormone more than any other wavelength.
Give these tips a go even if you just try a couple and see how you get on. Changing habits is hard I get it….. so start by introducing just a couple of steps at a time and see how you get on. Here’s to getting your sleep back on track…
(Disclaimer – the information I have provided here is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you concerned about your sleeping patterns, please see your doctor)