7 ways to get a good night’s sleep
There’s nothing like a good sleep in. The pure bliss of waking up on a Saturday and realising you can have an extra hour of shuteye is hard to beat. Our bodies love getting enough sleep – it’s as important to our wellbeing as the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. However, studies show that we are finding it more and more difficult to get the full 8-9 hours of sleep our body needs. A shocking 90% of Australians will suffer from a sleep disorder in their lifetime!
Getting enough sleep does wonders for our body. But above all, it keeps things working as they should, like helping maintain normal levels of cognitive skills such as speech, memory, and innovative and flexible thinking. Sleep deprivation compromises our concentration, increases the chance of us being irritable and annoyed, impairs our judgement and reaction time and has negative effects on our coordination. Studies have even shown that a lack of sleep can actually damage brain tissue, and has been linked to promoting obesity.
If you don’t think you’re getting enough sleep, try some of these tips to help your body get the rest it deserves:
- Create a bedtime ritual. A relaxing routine before bed will get you into the mindset of rest. Surround yourself in warm lighting, light a candle and curl up to a good book. Then make yourself a warm caffeine-free cup of herbal tea (I love chamomile with a dash of Manuka Honey!) Whatever you choose to do, make sure you gift yourself at least thirty minutes without the bright lights of your phone or television screen.
- Give yourself a bedtime – and stick to it. Sticking to the same bedtime will help regulate your body clock and could help you fall asleep – and stay asleep the whole night. Make sure that you get at least 8 hours of sleep if you’re an adult, and at least 9 hours if you’re a teenager. If you need to be up at 6am, try and get to bed by 10pm. It sounds early, but you’ll find it becomes so much easier to wake up without hitting the snooze button.
- Drink water 90 minutes before your bedtime. This will ensure you go to the bathroom before you fall asleep, instead of having to wake up in the middle of a good dream.
- Eat something light before bed. If you feel hungry an hour before bedtime, choose something light and avoid alcohol or anything with caffeine. Studies have shown that people who are sleep deprived tend to eat more fat-rich foods, simple carbohydrates and fewer vegetables, so try fresh fruit topped with Greek yoghurt to see you through until breakfast.
- Leave your smartphone outside. A new study by Professor Richard Wiseman, psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, found that the blue light emitted from smartphones supresses melatonin, the sleep hormone essential for helping us drift to sleep. Need it to set your alarm? Invest in a cute ‘old-school’ alarm clock to keep your inbox and Instagram at bay so you aren’t tempted to “just check” just before sleep time (or if you wake up in the middle of the night!). And yes, that also means getting rid of the television in your bedroom!
- Create a snooze friendly bedroom. It’s easier to fall asleep in a dark and quiet environment. Try using ear plugs if your partner tends to snore, and consider investing in a pretty eye mask if you can’t keep out light from the outside. Essential oils like lavender are traditionally used to promote a restful sleep, so add some to your oil burner an hour before bed or invest in an aromatherapy pillow spray.
- Still can’t sleep? Just breathe. Meditation not only helps relax us when we’re awake, it can also help calm the mind before we fall asleep. By focusing on your breath, you’ll be less likely to think about more distracting things like work, errands, your inbox and other distractions. You’ll drift off into dreamland before you can say good…
The Glow Seeker
About the author:
Kamina Nagel, The Glow Seeker, is a passionate, adventure-seeking, juice-guzzling health and wellness blogger with a gypsy-soul. She strives to inspire others to find happiness and balance in their lives by staying eternally curious, pursing their passions, fuelling their bodies with clean food and practicing gratitude, daily.