In the words of sleep scientist and best selling author, Matthew Walker; sleep is your superpower!
Sleep is the wonder drug that helps you live longer, look better, learn more and maintain that trim waistline. Sleep offers protection against conditions such as dementia and cancer. It scares off the common cold and reduces the risk of heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. A good night’s sleep makes you feel happier and less anxious.
However, there is more to getting a good night of sleep than simply closing your eyes and counting sheep. If you are finding that you often experience a restless night, wake up frequently or rise the next morning feeling like you have been summoned back to consciousness by the Night King, then this could be a sign that your sleeping routine may need a shakeup.
At Champion Health we recognise the vital role that sleep plays in keeping our mental health nourished which is why we have put together a 10-step guide of quick-fixes to help you discover your sleep superpower.
If you struggle with sleep, try to get in the habit of waking up and going to bed at similar times. This includes weekends. Your body’s circadian rhythm aligns itself with sunrise and sunset. Irregular sleep patterns lead to poorer long term sleep quality. A great way to build this habit is to invest in a sunrise alarm clock. Check out the Lumie range. Sunrise and sunsets are built into your alarm times to assist you with gradually nodding off / waking up each day.
Exercise is one of the best science-backed ways to improve your sleep and health. Regular exercise during daylight hours is one of the most effective ways that you can set up a good night’s sleep. Look at your daily routine and identify organic opportunities to integrate physical activity around your current commitments. This can be something as simple as hopping off of the bus a few stops earlier on the daily commute.
Nighttime light exposure makes your body think it’s time to be awake. Light at night impacts on your circadian rhythm by tricking your brain into thinking it is still daytime and making it harder for you to relax and get to sleep. Try reducing your use of digital devices during the evening. If this is not possible, you can adjust the settings on your device that help filter and reduce blue light exposure by switching on services such as night shift mode.
Alcohol before bedtime can lead to symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns due to the effect it has on hormone production and your body’s circadian rhythm. Downing a couple of drinks at night might seem great at the time, but if you’re committed to a better night of shut-eye then we recommend reducing alcohol consumption.
Did you know that caffeine temporarily blocks the body’s signals that start the sleep process? It has a half-life of 5 to 7 hours. This means that it remains in your system for a while after consuming. There is every chance that a seemingly innocent afternoon skinny latte could be the reason that your struggling to get to sleep at bedtime. Swap out the afternoon coffee-kick for a decaf alternative or a burst of brain-boosting physical activity.
Natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy so that it knows when to keep you awake and when it’s time to sleep. For a daytime energy boost and a better night’s sleep, try to make sure you have access to bright natural light each day during daylight hours.
Your bedroom environment is a crucial sleep component. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, and clean (especially for allergy sufferers).
Pay attention to temperatures. Body and bedroom temperature can profoundly impact sleep quality. Test different temperatures to find out which is most comfortable for you. For most people, 18 degrees Celsius is the optimal number. You can also adjust the type of duvet that you use across the different seasons. Higher tog count = warmer sleeper.
A warm bath or shower before bed can help you relax and improve your sleep quality. Make time for this in your bedtime routine and you’ll soon notice improvements.
Drinking Before Bed
Drinking large amounts of liquids before bed can disrupt your sleep pattern by causing you to wake during the night in order to visit the toilet. Try and limit fluid consumption to 1-2hours before your bedtime.
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