Sleep is so under estimated. Sleep is as important as a healthy diet when it comes to long-term physical health. I love my sleep. I love my bed & have honed the whole area of sleep to perfection – black out curtains, orthopaedic pillow, heavy duvet, a spray of pillow mist or a few drops of lavender …. Hey presto! My husband just hits the pillow and is out like a light, but for me I have spent many a night awake tossing & turning & dreading the day ahead as I know I will be like an exhausted monster-mother! I am sure many of you can relate to this.
Did you know good sleepers eat 10g less sugar daily than poor sleepers. Poor decision-making results from poor sleep, so you are more likely to reach for the wrong types of food when tired. Good sleep protects you against infections and helps strengthen your immune system. People are less stressed with good sleep patterns, and many research documents state a correlation between good sleep and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, cardio vascular disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity to name but a few. So, we need to prioritise the whole area of sleep. This January a good New Year’s Resolution would be to get an extra hour of sleep each day, can you imagine how wonderful we would feel if we stuck to this!
Here are some 360me top tips for a great nights’ sleep.
1. Limit caffeine after 3pm. If you need an afternoon pick me up, reach for a pint of water. Chances are you are dehydrated and fatigue is a side effect of this. (Remember green tea and dark chocolate contain high levels of caffeine).
2. Tune into your body clock, otherwise known as your circadian rhythm. Establish a routine of noticing when you are tired and sleepy and going to bed then & waking up with the lightness of the day. If you follow your body’s natural cycle, your circadian rhythm should stay balanced.
3. Exercise in the morning or daytime. Any sort of exercise will naturally help you sleep better, especially exercising in the outdoors. Its hard to wind down after exercise late at night.
4. Switch off those blue lights! Take a break from laptops, smartphones & devices which expose your body to too much of the wrong light & trick your brain into thinking its still the daytime. Set an alarm on your phone as a reminder to turn them off 2-3 hrs before sleep time.
5. Ensure you boost your gut bacteria. Read my blog ‘Gut Reactions’ for some tips on a healthy gut which will in turn boost your sleep quality. Our gut bacteria have been shown to play a role in regulating our circadian rhythm (sleep/ wake cycle) by keeping our hormones healthy & balanced.
As I write this am longing to get to bed. My new 12-week-old puppy’s wake cycle is sub-optimal, howling the house down at 6am!! I need to follow my own advice & get to bed an hour earlier ….
360me minding your self