When you want to hit the ground running, and live your best, having the support of quality sleep is vital. There are some small changes you can make to increase your zzzzz’s and ensure your sleep is doing it’s best to restore your body and brain. Inside and out, both your intake and your environment can contribute to better sleep. Here are five ways to you get the sleep you need to get going.
Turn your radio off, make sure it’s not too hot or too cold, and make your room as dark as possible; if your senses are stimulated, your sleep will be impaired. You may think it’s quiet enough, but constant background noise can have a harmful effect. Even if you’re not bothered by it, your brain is, and it can lead to fatigue and anxiety. But not all noise is created equal: a clock ticking has no effect, whereas the sound of conversation at an average volume can decrease sleep quality and give you a headache. If you live somewhere where sudden noise is a reality – shut your windows or put in your earplugs.
Your bedroom may have become a multipurpose place, buzzing with a TV, radio, and all your devices that stir up stimulation. The problem is, your busy bedroom hub won’t help you sleep; using these devices will keep your brain busy and make falling asleep unlikely. Our devices have LED screens which give off a blue light. This light can harm your vision, and quash your melatonin production – the hormone that controls your sleep cycle. Keep your digital devices out of your sleep zone, and at least 30 mins before you zzzzz, switch them all off.
Even though alcohol can make you a little sleepy, your nightcap is more of a nightmare. Alcohol does initially act as a sedative, but as it wears off, it can disrupt the stages of your sleep. Having a tipple before bedtime lessens how much REM sleep you get, and it can also exacerbate snoring and sleep apnea. Coffee is a sleep-snatching culprit too; steer clear of caffeine for 4-6 hours before bed (depending on your sensitivity). To play it safe, coffee in the morning is your best bet, as caffeine can stick around in your body for 8-10 hours. Cigarettes will harm your sleep too because the nicotine withdrawals can keep you up during the night.
Not just the hero of flexibility, strength and stress-smashing, yoga can also help you sleep more soundly. Especially if you have insomnia, building yoga into your daily routine can help you sleep longer, get to dreamland faster and quickly get back to sleep when you wake. And if you’re pregnant in your second trimester, yoga is a sensational sleep assistant. Because some kinds of yoga can pep you up (think Bikram or Vinyasa Flow), stick to gentler styles such as Hatha and Nidra. Finally – these poses are perfect for inducing sleep: Legs Up the Wall, Lying Butterfly and Corpse Pose.
Shake up your bedtime routine and give yourself the best chance of getting quality sleep. Goodnight and sleep tight.