21 May Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene isn’t brushing your teeth before bedtime – although you must do that! – It is implementing simple practices and habits during the day and into your evening so you can better prepare yourself for good quality sleep.
Our bodies like routines and establishing a regular one will help your body to recognise that it’s bedtime. What it really boils down to is relaxing and switching off, giving you mind and body a period of adjustment between a busy day and a good nights sleep. Here are a few simple tips…
- Get into bed by 10 pm (the sleep between 10 pm-12 am is some of the most restorative)
- Watch what you eat throughout the day, sugar and caffeine both over stimulate your mind and body, so moderate them and avoid before bedtime.
- Regular exercise has huge benefits on your sleep, but avoid strenuous workouts before bed.
- Make your bedroom a sanctuary, separating it from work, and keep it as dark as possible
- Turn your phone and devices off at least an hour before going to bed and don’t keep your phone on your bedside table – the light it emits during the night can interrupt the body’s production of melatonin, meaning sleep is more likely to be interrupted.
- If possible try to avoid emotionally upsetting conversations before attempting to sleep, ’never go to bed on an argument’ as my mum used to say.
- When you get into bed, try the 4/7 breathing method to calm the mind and the body. Close your eyes, breathing in deeply for the count of four, breathing right down into your belly. Pause, then breathe out for the count of seven and repeat this twenty times. It’s a powerful technique to settle you for the night and leave the stresses of the day behind.
- If night sweats are keeping you awake sleep in sheets and clothes made of natural fabrics, cotton, bamboo or if your budget allows it silk. @johnlewis make a duvet filled with mulberry silk which a friend of mine swears by and it won’t break the bank.
Good sleep is integral to our mental and physical health and wellbeing and I totally get the frustration of disturbed sleep and how dreadful it can make you feel. I hope that some of the tips above help you get into a practical routine and get a good nights sleep.