HEALTH . WELLNESS . NUTRITION . FITNESS

10 Tips For A Better Nights Sleep & Why Our Current Habits Are Killing Us!

26 January 2015

Go to sleep late, wake up tired, promise to go to sleep earlier, watch tv or surf the net, go to sleep late.

Sound familiar? It’s a vicious, vicious cycle!

Getting enough sleep and actually sleeping at the right time of day is a so incredibly important! Without enough quality sleep the result can be disastrous, not just on our moods but also our health. Without enough ZZZ’s we become constantly tired, irritable, lethargic & cloudy. Our digestive systems become sluggish and our attention spans go out the window. Additionally (and rather alarmingly), when limited sleep becomes a long term issue, it can also lead to long term mood disorders like chronic anxiety and depression. Studies have also found that people who regularly get less than 6 hours a night have a higher risk of dying sooner than those who don’t. EEEEEEKK! Time to hit the hay!

While 8 hours a night might seem like an obvious recommendation to some, many people don’t realise just how important is actually is (or what actually goes on while we rest).

During sleep, your body produces extra repairing protein molecules that build new cells and repair damaged ones. It also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels which reduces stress, and regulates hormones that affect and control our appetite. If sleep is interrupted, our body releases a different hormone that stimulates hunger and cravings which can obviously lead to weight gain. Sleep also has a huge impact on your general immune system which is pretty obvious as we usually get attacked with the flu monster when we are run down and TRIED.

Now getting enough hours sleep might be one thing, but there has also been a massive shift in the TIME that we choose to rest and rise. Too many of us are up far too late (even into the early hours) each night then wonder why we are always tired. I hear it all the time from my clients.

“Oh I couldn’t possibly come to an early morning training session! I’d be too tired!”

“What time do you go to sleep?”

“Umm never really before 11pm”

“There’s you’re problem!”

Before technology and today’s everyday stressors, humans would rise and go down with the sun. Very Lion King. This natural wind down in the evening has now gone out the window (thanks to TV & the internet) and many of us find it hard to sleep without medication or alcohol. The ancient practice of Ayurvedic medicine- something I am currently obsessed with- considers sleep an essential resource for creating balance and purity in both the body and mind.

 

Still having trouble booking a trip to slumber land? Here are SPROUT’s top 10 sleeping tips. 

– Be in bed by 9:30pm, lights off at 10pm LATEST. I understand life gets in the way and some peoples jobs won’t allow for this but do try! I promise the re-runs of Grey’s Anatomy will be on for many years to come and remember we have these amazing things called video recorders so you don’t have to stay up until 1am watching movies with 987443 ads.

– Screen time over at least 45mins before you go to bed. No more TV in bed, iPads, iPhones, laptops etc. You need to allow your mind and eyes to chill the bloody hell out before you get to rest. Technology is a huge problem and main contributor to peoples sleeping issues.

– Avoid alcohol (on weeknights at least). No you don’t actually need that glass of wine to go to sleep. I don’t care how much you tell me you do. YOU DONT. Time to break some bad habits. Herbal teas are great pre-bed beverage.

– If you have a weak bladder, avoid large amounts of liquid at least an hour before bed.

– Read a book. Like an actual book. You know, with pages. I’m the first to admit I love my e-reader but try and save the kindles or iPads for day time reading and pick up an old classic for night time reading so the screen doesn’t tire on your eyes.

– Create a nighttime ritual. It can be anything you like that you find relaxing. 10mins of mediation or deep breathing exercises or some yoga or soft stretching. I’ve started doing a few lumbar stretches on the floor before bed time to help with my back and I’ve found it to relaxes me and get me all zenned out for bed. I know my aunty likes to knit! I couldn’t possibly think of anything more stressful (I’m useless at knitting) but whatever works for you!

– Write a list. Scribble down anything that might be on your mind or you have to remember for the morning. This simple step can have HUGE effect on your subconscious. Some people even like to have a pad and pen next to their bed in case they suddenly wake with an idea or important reminder.

– Try not to over sleep. While this sounds contradictory, oversleeping can actually also make you feel worse. I don’t mean never sleep in, but if you don’t have a general time to be up each morning (who are you and what is your occupation!?), create your own sleeping pattern and try and wake up at the same time each morning.

– Dont nap too late. I’m not a huge advocate of naps anyway (unless you really need them) because they can affect the quality of your sleep the next night. If your body is too rested from a late afternoon snooze, you are probably going to struggle falling asleep when you eventually get to bed again. Keep naps no longer than an hour and preferably before 3pm.

– GIVE IT TIME. I know its hard to create new habits (especially healthy ones) and creating a new sleeping pattern will not happen overnight- pardon the pun. All these tips need to happen repeatedly over a few weeks to create new habits. It might take you a few days to get used to going to bed without wine or hours of TV or whatever. Just give it a go. Whats the worst that can happen? You’ll be tired the next day? Aren’t you already? Isn’t that why you’re trying this in the first place? Just give it TIME & CONSISTENCY.

 

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Website by Kirsten Riley