Today is World Sleep Day so we wanted to share with you a few tips on how to improve the quality of your sleep.
Good quality sleep is vital not only for our physical health, but also for our mental health. However, in a busy world where many of us feel like we are rushing from one thing to the next, and when we do have some time to sit down and relax, we struggle to switch off, consistently getting a good night is becoming harder and harder, to the detriment of our health.
While we are asleep, our body undertakes many vital biological functions that are essential for good health. These functions assist with physical recovery and repair, support brain development along with numerous other things. Good quality sleep also helps us to concentrate, be more mentally alert, improves memory and helps with mood. In cases where there is prolonged poor sleep, this can result in chronic illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mental illness, to name a few.
Good quality sleep is a cornerstone of good health.
So, here are some tips on how you can improve your sleep:
- Regular exercise: exercise, as I’m sure you already know, is not only good for our bodies, but is fantastic for our minds. Exercise helps us develop and maintain healthy muscles and bones, but it also helps to reduce insomnia. However, try to exercise earlier in the day as initially it does stimulate the body and mind.
- No technology for an hour before bed: this is a big one. We have personally benefitted from having no technology before bed, even though it is a very difficult habit to get into! Try avoiding your phone, laptop and tablet for at least an hour before bed. We have, in fact, taken to switching our phone off altogether so we’re not tempted to jump on for a few minutes. That few minutes, inevitably ends up being quite a few minutes!
- Create a relaxing vibe for at least an hour before bed: this goes hand in hand with the above point. In our household, we dim the lights, sometimes light a candle, keep noise levels down and generally create a ‘chilled’ atmosphere to aid getting into sleep mode…
- No caffeine later in the day: caffeine stimulates your nervous system which is helpful during the day, however, towards evening this is the last thing you want or need. We tend not to drink caffeine after 3pm.
- Lumie lamp or equivalent: we have been using a Lumie lamp for probably at least 4 years, and we absolutely love it! A Lumie lamp is a ‘bodyclock wake up light’. What this means is it dims out over half an hour when you are heading to bed and lights up over half an hour in the morning to wake you up gently and in a more natural manner. The idea is this replicates a natural sunset and sunrise and helps with maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm which is essential for sleep. You can get your Lumie lamp here.
- Blackout blinds: this is a simple but very helpful tip. The less light (and noise) you have coming into your room, the better you will sleep.
- Meditate / listen to a sleep meditation when you’re ready to fall asleep: we have used this tip more times than we can count. It may take a little while to find a meditation app you like, so we recommend trying a few out. There are some brilliant ones out there. We love to use ones that aid falling asleep. In the past we have tried Headspace, but recently switched to Calm. It’s a very personal thing though – it’s surprising how influential the voice of the commentator can be to how affective the mediation session is.
- Get your to do list for the next day out of your head and down on paper: at the end of your work day, prepare your to do list for the next day. This will help ease your mind and get things out of your head so you can literally forget about it until the next day. This is simple, but effective.
- Change into something comfy and wear natural, breathable fabrics: Once you are home at the end of your day, we recommend changing out of your work clothes / day clothes into something relaxing. This will signal to your body and mind that it is time to unwind. And of course, our super soft organic cotton is perfect for this. Still smart enough to open the door to any unexpected visitors, while letting you feel like you can start to enjoy some chill time. Wearing a natural, breathable fabric will also help your body regulate its temperature while you sleep – essential for a good night’s sleep. You can browse our collections here.
- Natural fiber bed linen: continuing on along the same thread (pun very much intended) as above, having bed linen made from natural fabrics such as cotton, linen or silk, will improve your sleep as it’s breathable, not to mention feels lovely on the skin. We love Australian bed linen brand Feyre Home – their products are made using Supima cotton and their sheet sets, duvet sets, and bedspread sets come in five fresh, gorgeous colours which are easy to add to any bed linen you may already have at home. Check out their products here.
If you are a bad sleeper and have drastically improved your sleep hygiene but are still struggling to sleep better, we would recommend speaking to your GP, and / or a naturopath / natural practitioner. About 5 years ago, I was having massive sleep issues, and digestive issues. It never occurred to me that these two things may be related. Having spent years and lots of money seeing various specialists to try to get to the bottom of my poor sleep, I eventually found myself seeing a naturopath who had been recommended. I had all but given up by this stage.
I am not exaggerating when I say she completely changed my health. It turned out both issues were in fact related to my having an intolerance to gluten and diary. My health and sleep have been much improved since then, thankfully. I felt like a different person within two weeks of my appointment. So, as I say, if you feel you have tried everything, please do consider seeing a natural practitioner.
I wrote a blog a few years ago which goes into more detail. You can read that here if you want to know more. Also, if you have any questions about this, please feel free to email me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m not an expert but I am very happy to share my experiences with you.
Do you have other tips you use that help you sleep better? If so, we’d love to know. Please comment below or email us on email@example.com.
We hope you have found this useful! Happy World Sleep Day… now for a nap…
Sonia X x X