The importance of sleep and routine
March 15, 2022
Sleep is the universal medicine to better wellbeing. It boosts your mood, allows you to think clearly and make positive decisions, as well as improving your immune system.
It’s easy for us to compromise on our sleeping habits by staying up that little bit later to watch an extra episode of our favourite series, or to scroll on social media for just another 10 minutes (which can easily turn into half an hour, or more). However, sleep is really important for our all round health, and making sure that we’re ready for the day ahead. So, here are some tips to help you get a good night’s sleep.
Do your best to avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption, particularly later in the day, e.g. after 3pm
However, make sure you do keep hydrated, aim for 2 litres of water throughout the day. Try not to drink too much before you go to sleep, to help stop you from waking up in the night, improving your sleep quality.
Don’t have a hot shower or bath right before you plan on going to sleep
For a quality sleep, you and your environment need to be the right temperature, which is usually slightly cooler than you would be normally. Think about the PJ’s you wear, how many blankets are on your bed, or whether you need to open a window half an hour or so before you want to go to sleep.
Avoid high intensity exercise near bedtime
Hard exercise releases the hormones adrenalin and cortisol, which will prevent you from relaxing and feeling ready for sleep. Try exercising earlier in the day, rather than in the evening.
You can try listening to ‘white noise’, either while you’re going to sleep or before bed
White noise is simply background noise that minimises noise disruption, and can help to prevent you from waking up, as well as making it easier to fall asleep. Lots of people use ‘rain sounds’ or the sound of waves breaking on a beach for this. This is known to work well for babies and children.
Routine is extremely important
Try to do the same things before bed each evening, and wake up at the same time each day. Having a regular routine helps to prepare your mind and body for going to sleep, as well as making it easier to wake up.
Make your bedroom conducive to sleep
Make sure it’s dark enough through the summer months and tidy up a bit during the day so it’s clean and not cluttered. Try to avoid things like working in your bedroom and use it only for sleep. Avoid things like bright screens or falling asleep while watching TV as the ‘blue light’ these produce decreases your melatonin, which makes it more difficult to sleep.
Try some deep breathing or mindfulness before bed
This induces relaxation, which can help you to fall asleep. It also reduces levels of hormones that make it more difficult to sleep such as adrenalin and cortisol.
‘Sleep is as important to our health as eating, drinking and breathing. It allows our bodies to repair themselves and our brains to consolidate our memories and process information.’ Mental Health Foundation
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