It’s a well-established fact that sleep is essential to our physical, emotional and mental health, so getting a good night’s sleep is incredibly important for your health. In fact, it’s just as important as eating balanced, nutritious meals and exercising.
Though sleep needs vary from person to person, most adults require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Both sleeping too much or too little can be detrimental to your health.
Creating a Sleep-Inducing Bedroom
- Use a good mattress, pillow and bedding.
- Sleeping in a darkened room helps quality of sleep, use black out curtains if you can and avoid electronic devices and TV in the bedroom.
- Make your bedroom as quiet and peaceful as possible.
- Have the right temperature, sleep is most restful in a cool bedroom.
- Use essential oils like lavender in a diffuser to help you fall asleep or put a few drops on your pillow or a handkerchief.
Optimising Your Sleep
- Go to bed at the same time every night if possible, and this will help you to wake up at the same time in the morning. Setting this rhythm will help your sleep.
- Be cautious with naps as it may affect your sleep at night. Power naps can be really helpful but restrict them to twenty minutes maximum.
- Wind down for at least 30 minutes before bed: either with quiet reading, having a relaxing bath, listening to soothing music or try some gentle relaxation or breathing exercises.
- Avoiding bright light before going to bed helps you transition to bedtime and contributes to your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep.
- Disconnect from digital devices as the blue light from their screens can suppress your natural production of melatonin. As much as possible, try to disconnect from all devices for 30 minutes or more before going to bed.
- Be out in daylight to help with your circadian rhythm, your natural sleep–wake cycle.
- Daily exercise helps with relaxing before going to bed. However, intense exercise close to bedtime may hinder your body’s ability to effectively settle down before sleep.
- Reduce your caffeine intake, especially after 3pm. Although alcohol may seem to help you get to sleep, it affects the brain in ways that can lower sleep quality.
- Do not go to sleep on a full stomach and avoid fatty or spicy foods at night. Opt for a healthy alternative for an evening snack like a banana, a few almonds, or a chamomile herbal tea.
- Smoking or being exposed to cigarette smoke may reduce your quality of sleep.
If you Still Cannot Sleep
- Try relaxation techniques, with “tummy” breathing, mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided visualisation.
- Here are some meditations you may find useful:
- Experiment with different methods to see what will work for you.
- Keep a sleep diary so you can spot patterns and see what works best for you.