‘’Our sleep quality is more important than our diet and exercise, combined with what it does for our health and also literally for our physical appearance’’ Shawn Stevenson

Sleep plays an important role in regulating your metabolism, along with nutrition, hydration, stress management and movement. Studies indicate a link between lack of sleep and obesity. Good quality sleep is a combination of:

  • how many hours of sleep do you get in a night
  • the depth of sleep, in terms of how much your sleep is broken throughout the night
  • how much time do you spend in the different types of sleep, e.g. REM, Deep, Light, as well as Awake Time

The time spent in each sleeping area impacts the good quality and restorative sleep; good quality and restorative sleep are essential for daily function.

Before bedtime, it is important to implement a routine to aid better quality and restorative sleep. Ideally, this should start before sleep to prevent/ease restless sleep.

I’m here to help you! I was where you are now! 

Sleep deprivation affects everyone in many ways.

Symptoms include

  • increased nervousness
  • feeling anxious
  • increased impatience
  • low energy
  • reduced ability to focus and make good decisions
  • low productivity
  • reduced immune system responses
  • increased inflammation throughout the body (systemic inflammation)
  • headaches and migraines
  • appetite disruption, meaning either increased or decreased desire to eat
  • reduced metabolic rate, meaning less burning of energy so, increasing fat in the body, and affecting weight
  • hormone disruption
  • blood sugar imbalance, which has an impact on sugar highs and lows, along with increased systemic inflammation, potentially leading to weight gain and pre-diabetes

 So, make time now to look after yourself to prevent getting sick.

Did you know that people often can’t sleep because they are too tired or go to bed too late?

 

What can you do?

Learn to listen to your body. It sends signals alerting you to your status of wakefulness/sleepiness, but often, we ignore these and keep pushing ourselves to the edge.

Although the brain accounts for only 2% of body mass, it uses 25% of the body’s entire energy resource.

Poor quality sleep and sleep deprivation negatively impact our attention span, memory recall and learning. In addition, the body heals during sleep. With good quality restorative sleep, we respond better to stress, increase productivity in all aspects of life (both work and personal), improve mood, and feel happier. Good quality and restorative sleep are essential for day-to-day functioning.

 

Where to start? Here are 9 simple tips you can integrate into your life to improve the quality of your sleep

 

1. Pay attention to what you eat and drink – do not go to bed too full or hungry. Too full means your digestive system is active during the night when it should be resting and repairing. Being too hungry means your blood sugar drops and impacts your sleep depth.

Keep caffeine and energy drink intake to morning. Caffeine can remain in your system well into the early night-time (bedtime), and with its stimulating effects, sleep is difficult to achieve, similarly, with energy drinks.

 

 2. Stick to a routine – try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends. Your body operates very much on routine, so it will thank you and reward you for practice.

 

3. Create a night-time ritual – meditate; read a book; stay away from electronic devices (and keep them out of the bedroom) at least 30 minutes (but ideally 2-3 hours) before bedtime; indulge in a nice bath using some essential oils (lavender, chamomile) that are calming, helping to lower your cortisol (stress hormone) level to help you sleep.

 

4. Manage stress – give yourself permission to have a break when needed; declutter your bedroom. Organise your day by prioritising tasks and delegating where appropriate (in both work and personal life).

5. Not sure about napping during the day? Keeping your nap to a maximum of 30 minutes a day and not too close to bedtime will not interfere with your night-time sleep.

6. Meditation, yoga, and praying may help you release tension and become calmer. Try 5-10 minutes of meditation during the day and get to bed earlier in the evening.   There are lots of apps to choose from. To facilitate keeping electronic devices out of the bedroom, complete meditation from an app in a different room, but it can be done directly before bed, as you will not be using a screen!

7. Practice Gratitude! Studies show that practising gratitude alters the human heart and molecular structure of the brain with long-lasting positive effects on the brain. It calms you and helps you let go of any toxic emotions. And, It’s free!

8. Do you have cold feet and find it hard to fall asleep? You can quickly fall asleep if you wear soft, clean socks before jumping into bed. Put on a pair of warm socks, or use a hot water bottle. While a cooler environment is ideal for good quality sleep, we need to feel warm in bed to fall asleep more easily.

9. Expose yourself to natural light in the morning for better sleep at night time. Morning sunlight can help normalise your circadian cycle and help you get a good amount of deep sleep. It also helps you if you suffer from difficulty sleeping.

Research indicates that 5-10 minutes spent in the morning light (regardless of sunny or cloudy!) helps to set the body’s Circadian rhythm correctly for the day by stimulating the light sensor signalling in the brain.

When you can, stand outside and breathe first thing in the morning; go for a walk around the block (getting movement in as well!). Sit outside to eat your breakfast, park/get off the bus further from your office and walk that extra 5-10 minutes (getting movement in, too!). You will feel better throughout the day, plus you are setting the rhythm pattern for good quality sleep.

I can’t emphasise enough the importance of your sleep. Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep.

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