You’re all probably aware of the need to switch off from your electronic devices, to be in a cool room and avoid stimulants like caffeine during the afternoon
Here are some sleep secrets you might not have known about…
1. Get serious about bedtime
If you want more sleep but your little one wakes each day at 6am, then one solution is to go to bed earlier in the evening. Set a bedtime that you do your best to stick to. It’s easy to get distracted, so I find it really helps to set a phone reminder to “wind down” 30 minutes before bedtime as a reminder to start preparing for bed.
Routine is the most important factor in getting good sleep, it is the guardian of good sleep. The body likes routine – it prefers to eat, sleep, and be active on a schedule. So stick to the same sleep schedule. Get up and go to bed at a similar time each day.
Our eyes need exposure to outdoor light because of a hormone in our body called melatonin - it regulates our sleep and wake pattern and also acts on receptors in your body to encourage sleep. If we stay indoors, it means a lack of exposure to proper light, which reduces melatonin levels. So make sure you get outside every day.
4. Park your stress
Try not to take those worries to bed. Tell yourself you've done all you can for that day and there's nothing more to do right now. Anything still on your mind can be picked up again the next day, after a good night's sleep. Now is time for rest. If anxious thoughts are preventing you from getting some shut-eye and you can't stop going over your to-do list or worries in bed, try writing it all down. Keep a pen and paper by your bed to do this. Sometimes it can be trying to remember everything that actually keeps us from switching off properly so also jot down the things you need to do the next day, this will help you ‘release’ them from your memory.
5. Use breathing techniques to de-stress
The 4-7-8 technique forces the mind and body to focus on regulating the breath, rather than replaying your worries when you lie down at night. It also helps soothe frazzled nerves and sends a wave of calmness through your body by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. To practice this start first by fully exhaling and emptying your lungs. Then, breathe in for a count of 4 through your nose. Hold for a count of 7. Breathe out through your mouth for 8. This method has been described as a ‘natural tranquilizer for the nervous system’, so do give it a try.
6. Introduce essential oils to your sleep routine
Essential oils are amazing for supporting healthy sleep. There are an array of essential oils that can help you relax, mentally and physically, and make it easier for you to fall asleep and sleep more soundly. Lavender is a soothing scent that’s long been associated with relaxation and sleep, and used as a natural remedy for anxiety too. Jasmine has some serious sleep-promoting capabilities. Research shows jasmine improves sleep quality and cuts down on restless sleeping, as well as increasing daytime alertness. A 2002 study showed that jasmine delivered all of these sleep benefits, as well as lowering anxiety, even more effectively than lavender.
7. Avoid sleep-stealing snacks
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, cut yourself off refined sugar and processed carb snacks by early afternoon. Refined grains and sugars disrupt your steady-state down-time metabolism, creating blood sugar and insulin fluctuations that may well wake you up at odd times. If you need to snack, make it a high-protein snack because that should avoid the blood sugar/insulin rollercoaster and will also provide a helpful dose of L-tryptophan, an amino acid needed to produce melatonin to aid sleep.
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