We all know how important sleep is to our overall well being but according to neuroscientist, Matthew Walker, if we get less than 7 hours sleep a night, we are increasing our risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, a heart attack and mental health problems (1). Eek!
When we sleep, our bodies take time to mend and heal themselves. If we aren’t getting enough sleep then we aren’t allowing our bodies the time to do this properly. According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults need on average 7-9 hours sleep per night. (Check out their handy sleep chart here.)
But our lives are so busy! We have a crazy work culture and many stresses and other distractions, so how do we manage to fit in the required hours of quality sleep every night?
Here are my tips to help get a good night sleep;
- Go to bed at the same time every night – ideally around 10pm.
- Try to address anything that is worrying you before you go to bed. If you have a lot on your mind, you might find it helpful to write it down.
- Get exercise and fresh air during the day so that you are physically tired at bedtime.
- Manage stress – exercise and fresh air will also help with this, but it is also important to look at what your stress triggers are, and how you can reduce them or manage them better. Yoga and meditation can be good for this.
- Avoid eating late. Ideally we should be eating 3- 4 hours before bedtime so that when we go to bed our bodies can rest and detox rather than digest food.
- Avoid stimulants like caffeine after 3pm. It can take 6-7 hours for caffeine to work its way out of the body.
- Sleep with the window open. When we sleep our bodies detox. We don’t want to breathe back in the waste our bodies are trying to eliminate through respiration, so a supply of fresh, circulating air can help carry toxins away.
- Sleep in a cool room. I hate being cold, but I know I don’t sleep well in a room that is hot and stuffy. Wrap up warm under the covers, but keep the air cool and it will help you sleep.
- Avoid screen time an hour before bed. Blue light emitted from phones, tablets and televisions can interrupt sleep patterns and signal to the brain that it is daytime. Anecdotally, some say that wearing orange glasses can help, but there appears to be no scientific proof of this.
- Sleep in the dark. For the same reason as avoiding screen time before bed, we should sleep in as dark a room as possible. My children don’t like it too dark, so in their rooms we use Himalayan Salt Lamps. Not only do these help to clean the air, but they emit a pinky glow which is not thought to disrupt sleep in the way that blue light can.
Sometimes we can do everything right but still feel a little stressed out and mentally awake. Try my DIY Linen Sleep Spray to make your sheets smell fab, and help you relax.
Do you have any tips for a good night sleep? I would love to hear what works for you.