Though it’s an area of our wellbeing that we often neglect, maintaining a good sleep schedule and getting a decent amount of shut eye every night is imperative to our overall health and wellbeing. Not getting enough sleep each day can cause both our professional and personal lives to suffer. Studies have shown that getting a good night’s sleep promotes brain functions and reduces your risk of disease.
If you consider yourself something of an insomniac, or you are struggling to relax and ways to fix lack of focus at the end of the day, we’ve outlined a few healthy sleep tips below to assist you.
Choose a sleep schedule and stick to it
It’s going to completely mess up your body clock if you find yourself going to sleep at different times each day. One late start could easily throw your whole week off course so you should try to be disciplined in going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time each day, even on the weekends.
Exercise during the day
If you exercise during the day, you will tire yourself out more and therefore will be able to have a deeper, longer sleep at night. Choose a workout activity that you are going to enjoy doing and commit to doing it every day. For example, if you enjoy being in the great outdoors, consider incorporating a daily run around the local park into your routine. Ensure that you buy the proper apparel and footwear for your workout or run – brands like Nike and Adidas have an excellent reputation because they are comfortable, reliable and won’t leave you with sore feet or blisters afterwards!
Consider amending your diet
Are you one of those people that will order an espresso at the end of a meal out with friends? Furthermore, what’s your sugar intake like? Foods that contain caffeine, sugar or carbohydrates can affect your ability to sleep well. As your body tries to work against effects such as caffeine kicks or sugar highs, it becomes more difficult for you to just relax. You should also be mindful of how much you eat later in the day. Try to allow several hours between your final meal and going to sleep so that your body has time to process and digest your food intake. Eating a large meal before bed can result in indigestion, or an inability to sleep due to feeling “full”, bloated and uncomfortable.
Try to associate your bedroom with sleep
If you’re having difficulty sleeping, take a look at what you’re doing prior to going to sleep. Sitting in bed watching movies for a long time before you actually plan on going to sleep will cause you to subconsciously associate your bed with television and other activities, rather than being a place of R&R. Stick to the sofa until it’s time to put your head down for the night.
Create a relaxing bedtime routine
You may be feeling a little stressed about the pressures you are under at work, but if you stay up until late at night pouring yourself over a laptop worrying and analysing excel spreadsheets that you will find it difficult to relax and unwind. Try to stick to calming activities in the few hours before you go to bed. For example, meditate or drink a cup of herbal tea like camomile or peppermint while reading a book.
Manage the lighting
The lights that you have in your home environment do play a role in your ability to relax and unwind. If you’re sitting in your living room with really bright, clinical lighting illuminating up the whole space then you are probably not going to feel as sleepy as you would in a dimly lit room. Consider this, and try to lower the lightning levels at least an hour before you plan on going to sleep. During the summer months, think about investing in a sleep mask, or ensuring that your room has heavy curtains in order to aid in blocking out the sunlight during times when it gets dark later in the evening, and the sun rises earlier in the morning.
Turn off your electronic devices
In a similar manner to being mindful of the room lighting that you have around your home prior to going to sleep, be aware of light from electronic devices. Lights from phones and tablets keep you awake in a similar manner to trying to sleep with all of the lights on full power. So if you’re up late at night texting or you’re scrolling through social media feeds on your phone while wondering why you cannot get to sleep – you have your answer.
Minimise daytime naps
Okay let’s be honest, not many of us have the luxury of stopping and taking a nap in the middle of the day, but sometimes a change in routine (i.e a super early start to get to the airport or to a meeting) can wear you out so much that you need to take a little rest. There’s nothing wrong with taking a small nap but be mindful of how long you spend asleep or you will find that you are unable to sleep later. At the absolute maximum, take around 20-30 minutes sleep.