Sometimes it seems that life couldn’t possibly get any busier. So, you start trying to find extra hours in your day, and where do you get them from? I am as guilty as anyone in taking some hours of precious sleep time away in order to get it all done.
However, we know sleep is so important and is extremely beneficial for reducing stress and promoting physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. People who do not get enough sleep at night are more prone to illness, as a lack of sleep can inhibit our immune system and your body's defences. Sleep is quite simply the bodies way of recharging itself. A few late nights won't cause too much damage but if it becomes a habit, your body will resist you. Your emotions will become heightened and you will find it difficult to keep a hold on them. Tiredness also restricts your ability to think clearly and impacts on your ability to make decisions.
Let's make getting a good night's sleep a priority. I honestly understand how hard that can seem but your body will truely thank you. Here are a few tips to help you wind down.
Prepare to Sleep
I always find it easier to have a good night's sleep if I prepare to rest. This means no screen time half an hour before I go to bed. No alcohol or caffeine for at least 2 hours before sleep, but 4 hours is optimal. I usually won’t eat or have any caffeine after 6pm. This means that my body is not processing any stimulants at all as I am trying to rest. No stimulants mean my body is free to naturally sleep and rest comfortably. I also make sure my phone and all distracting electronics are not in reach so I am not tempted to read a few emails before bed.
Stick to a routine. I try and stick to a sleep routine. I settle down at the same time every night so my body can adjust. It also helps to get up at the same time every day. I set an alarm and I wake up with no issue, I also find that even with no alarm on a weekend I still awaken at the same time feeling wonderfully refreshed and ready to start the day.
Have an Appropriate Sleeping Area
This may seem like an obvious point, but so many people have televisions, tablets and phones in their bedrooms. The artificial light from these devices stimulate your brain and keeps you awake. So even if you tell yourself 'just 5 minutes on Facebook', it is going to disrupt the ease in which you fall asleep. I always turn my computer and phone screens onto night mode from 7pm which helps reduce the amount of blue light they omit. Ultimately, you won't have any of these devices in your bedroom.
The bed upon which you sleep is also important. Finding the right firmness and material can help your sleep immensely.
Black out curtains are useful for keeping all light out from your bedroom, the darkness allows you to settle down quicker and to stay asleep.
If you find sleep difficult there are some wonderful sleep aids available. Of course, I love my acupressure mat! I find lying on it for 20 minutes before, or even in bed, help me to drift off to sleep nice and relaxed. I take the time on the mat to meditate myself or to do a guided meditation. Just don’t fall asleep on the mat with bare skin… You have been warned!
If I’m not getting into bed too late and have time, I like doing a few yoga moves that once again promote sleep. Stay tuned for that sequence!
Another tip to help you drift off, use a little dab of lavender essential oil on pressure points or on your pillow. This smells delicious too!
Sweet dreams all xx
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