I always ask my patients about their sleep; how many hours a night? Do they wake often? Is their bed/pillow comfortable? And most importantly, do they feel well rested when they wake up in the morning?
Sleep is vital in encouraging and maintaining good functioning of your body, muscles and organs. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) at least 40 million people suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders and 60% report having sleep problems a few nights a week (that’s a lot!). Your rest period is so important in ensuring optimal health and wellbeing so please take care of this.
For women especially, simply being female makes us more likely to suffer from insomnia. The main factors contributing being; anxiety & worrying, hormonal fluctuations of our menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause can also affect sleep, which in turn affects the quality of our health and wellbeing. Which is why it’s super important to get your beauty sleep.
So let me help you out with my tried & tested top 10 tips on how to get the most relaxed and sweetest sleep!
1. Are you one of these people? “I’ll just check my Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / email before bed…”
Rule number 1: Step AWAY from the iPhone/i-Pad/laptop. Avoid the use of any electrical devices 1hr before your bedtime (and definitely not in bed). Light is a powerful guide for your body and being exposed to light from the screen will influence chemistry and waking hormonal behavior, as your brain connects it to the sunlight. So this will only keep you wired to stay awake.
2. Try to go to bed at roughly the same time every night, and get up at the same time each morning.
The body produces melatonin, which is important in controlling your body clock so your sleep-wake cycle is regulated. Your body craves routine so by doing this, you’ll maintain a healthy sleep cycle for your body, it’s natural rhythms, the correct hormonal releases and you will definitely feel a difference by getting the same amount of sleep each night. Try it for a week.
3. Keep your room quiet, dark, cool & uncluttered.
You bedroom is your sanctuary, the space for you to disconnect from the world; and it should be treated and kept that way.
So use dim lighting towards your bedtime, keep the curtains tightly drawn and open the window a smidge to regulate temperature. I recently discovered the magic behind crisp & cool bedding…Egyptian cotton percale sheets, luxuriously soothing.
4. Relaxing scents have been proven to have a calming effect.
I absolutely love Molton Brown’s “Relaxing Yuan Zhi Ambiente Room Spray”. Made with yuan zhi, vanilla and ylang ylang, it’s perfect to not only de-stress but 2 spritzes in your room or from a height above your bed will calmy sooth you into a restful sleep. Alternatively, unless you’re sensitive to scents, a lightly scented lavender spritz or candle as you get ready for bed is perfect to aid a good night’s sleep.
5. Quit the caffeine.
That’s right, that quick mid-afternoon coffee may have helped you get through the rest of your day, but it definitely won’t do you any favors in getting through the night peacefully, especially when your mind is still racing into over-drive at 1am with restless thoughts and to-do lists. So you may want to reconsider? Obviously you will probably already know your own sensitivity to caffeine, but there’s no harm in switching to a herbal or caffeine-free brew from the mid-afternoon (there’s not much difference in the taste, and you’ll be less agitated and more calm!)
6. And the booze (you knew this was coming!)
It’s the TGIF high; time to celebrate with a glass or two of vino, white wine spritzer or a cocktail right? With a standard drink (one unit) it takes at least 2 hrs to metabolize, so keep your eye on the clock because if you body is still focusing on this when you go to bed, it isn’t focusing on sending you to sleep. Plus, if you’re already achy and tired from your long week and work, with alcohol being an inflammatory product, you’re only increasing the amount of inflammation in your body, with less recovery period, which equals a worse state in the morning. Be drink aware!
7. Make sure that your bed & pillow is comfortable.
Many of my patients come in to see me having “slept funny”…We spend a third of our lives in bed, so a new mattress could be a worthwhile investment. People spend thousands on a new car, which on average gives them a good 5 years; but a mattress is something you will be sleeping on for decades, so it needs to be comfortable, firm, supportive and keep your body well balanced throughout the night; so invest in a good one. Flipping and rotating your current one may work, but my absolute favorite and top recommendation to my patients is a firm latex foam mattress (the ones by Dunlapillo are fab!)
8. The snooze button (every 5mins)…
To all those having to wake at the crack of dawn, we’ve all been there! But whilst snoozing in the morning might feel like an indulgence, you’ll actually wake up feeling groggier and more tired. Just treat yourself to setting the alarm 15-20 minutes later instead. It’ll make such a difference in your mood, so you won’t wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
9. Remember that we are all different.
I treat so many girls and women, including work or sport-focused women, new mums, working mums & business-mums. So whilst research shows that 7-8 hours is the average for most people, anything between 6-10 is normal. It’s important to have a routine that best works for you and your body, so it stays functioning at its best! As long as you feel well rested and refreshed the next day, it’s absolutely fine.
10. Lastly, do absolutely nothing!
Worrying only pumps up your adrenals, and defeats the purpose of a restful sleep. So, try not to think about about not sleeping, or focus too much on ways & techniques to get yourself to sleep, or you’ll just stay awake. If you haven’t done already, look through my previous blog post on my top tips to de-stress (https://healthwealthandforeverhappiness.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/magical-top-4-stress-relievers-immediate-soothing-effective/) because the art of practicing mindfulness through self-meditation is very powerful and if you’re struggling, is an effective way to address your thoughts, anxiety and emotions to help you drift into a relaxing sleep…zzz
If you found these tips helpful, please post below. Yours in good health xoxo 🙂