I believe that a solid night sleep can make or break the rest of the week. Today I want to discuss with you a few routine things I do to ensure I get a goodnight sleep so I am on the ball for a cracking day at the office (pun intended!). So I decided to share with you some of the simple but very effective ways to ensure you get some quality shut eye. Firstly, for myself over the years I have worked out that I feel my best with 8.5-9 hours sleep but obviously it can be affected greatly by the quality of sleep in which I get. The importance of non REM sleep, non-REM sleep is the period of deep sleep that you need to feel refreshed in the morning. It occurs in longer periods during the first half of the night. Your heartbeat and breathing slow to their lowest levels during sleep. Your muscles are relaxed and it may be difficult to awaken you. Brain waves become even slower and hormones are released as well as energy stores are replenished.
The tools to help me sleep, which I have incorporated into my daily routine include chemical, physical and emotional habits. Lets start with chemical, now a good start is to reduce your sugar (natural and artificial sugars) intake after 3pm. This is important because sugar is a stimulant and can also pull you out of a deep sleep cycle. Another note on this topic is definitely no caffeine after 3pm. I typically recommend no caffeine after lunch. If you struggle with this consider not having as many carbohydrates (especially high GI) for lunch as this has a similar effect to sugar, gives you a rush and then a crash. I also use a diffuser with quality doTerra essential oils, typically I use lavender and on-guard together, lavender for relaxing and on-guard for boosting my immune. Another thing I like to do is during my evening shower use Lush Sleepy body wash; this has ylang-ylang and lavender in it along with Tonka bean. In winter I tend to drink organic caffeine free peppermint tea, firstly because it’s warm and delicious but also definitely helps ensure a good night sleep.
It is also important to get some physical activity as well as some sunlight during the day; this really helps your quality and duration of that quality sleep. If you have been out in the sun and have been exposed to natural light, when the sun goes down your body will naturally secrete melatonin, which is essential for quality sleep. This is why screen time before bed is so disrupting because the body is confused by the light from the screen and doesn’t secrete the same levels of melatonin. Now this one I admit I do struggle with because it’s a habitual evening activity but reducing screen time for bed is also really important. If you have kids, make a huge effort to remove screens from the bedroom before bedtime. Reading a book or meditating is a much better option. This brings me to my next point, go get meditating. I cannot recommend this more. Even just 10 minutes before you go to bed or even better, meditate to sleep. I have meditated in float tanks before and the combination of lack of stimulus and meditation plus magnesium gives you the most incredible rejuvenation! I digress but my point here is to meditate. Make it your mission if you haven’t already done so to download a meditation app. I use Oak, its free and its great to fall to sleep to fire sounds or waterfalls with some guided breathing is really a great life hack to better quality sleep but also so many other health benefits!
Now that I have covered some chemical, physical and emotional daily habits to improve your sleep you should really start to see a difference in how you feel, especially in the morning. You’ll be bouncing out of bed ready to start your day.
The effectiveness of these activities is in the habit making process. Start by just putting the diffuser in your bedroom, then for a whole week put it on every night. Next week try meditating to sleep for just 10-30mins before you go to sleep. Follow that up with controlling sugar and caffeine in your diet, before long you’ll have made some great habits. These habits will affect your quality of sleep yes but also your mood in the day, your food cravings, your focus and attention span. Getting a good night sleep improves your productivity and retention in the day. So what are you waiting for, get to bed on time tonight and aim for the next few weeks to get that awesome quality sleep and into a deep sleep cycle!
Dr Shinae Brownrigg