We all know that sleep is essential for life (especially for hormonal health & metabolism) but unfortunately so many of the clients I see are not getting enough. They’re either finding it really hard to switch off and fall asleep or they wake numerous times during the night.
Believe it or not, a lot of what you do during the day and the hours before bed can have a tremendous impact on the quality of your sleep that night. Here I have put together my top nine tips for a good night’s sleep – the more you can implement into your lifestyle the better!
My 9 top tips for a good night’s sleep
- Keep a regular sleep schedule. Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle—your circadian rhythm—is one of the most important strategies for achieving good sleep. Wake up and go to bed at the same time, even on weekends to keep your hormone cycle regular. The majority of the adrenal recharging happens between the hours of 11pm-1am so it is essential you are already in bed and asleep during this time to reap the benefits.
- Increase light exposure during the day which will help your melatonin production at night. Exposure to wide-spectrum light during the day boosts serotonin levels, which will help improve melatonin levels at night. Try to take your work breaks outside in sunlight, exercise outside, or walk your dog during the day instead of at night. Let as much light into your home/workspace as possible. Keep curtains and blinds open during the day, and try to move your desk closer to the window.
- Avoid caffeine after midday. In some people, caffeine is not metabolised efficiently, leaving you feeling its effects long after consumption and may keep you awake at night.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Put your work away at least one hour before bed (preferably two hours or more). This will give your mind a chance to unwind so you can go to sleep feeling calm, not hyped up or anxious about tomorrow’s deadlines. Instead engage in something you find relaxing such as reading, listening to a relaxation CD, receiving (or giving) a massage from your partner, meditating or if you often lay in bed with your mind racing, it might be helpful to keep a journal and write down your thoughts before bed. I love to drink a cup of my Sleep Time Tea which is full of sedating herbs to calm you down without feeling groggy the next day.
- Take a hot bath or shower 1 hour before bed. When your body temperature is raised in the late evening, it will fall at bedtime, facilitating slumber. The temperature drop from getting out of the bath signals your body it’s time for bed. Adding 1 cup of Epsom salts or Magnesium flakes to your bath will further enhance relaxation and sedation (great at releasing any muscular tension). I have also formulated a Sleep Time Bath and Body Oil full of calming and sedating essential oils to help facilitate slumber. You can either add to your bath or apply to your skin after a shower.
- Switch off your TV, ipad, mobile phone, or any other electronic gadget at least 1 hour before going to bed (and do not bring them to bed with you!). These devices are too stimulating to the brain and can suppress your body’s production of melatonin and make it harder to sleep. If you do have to use your computer, download f.lux to your screen – this is a free software that reduces the stimulating blue light at night. You also want to sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible. Even the tiniest bit of light in the room (whether through the window or glow from a clock radio) can disrupt your internal clock and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin. Cover these things as best as possible or wear an eye mask.
- Avoid alcohol before bed. Although alcohol will make you drowsy, the effect is short lived and you will often wake up several hours later, unable to fall back asleep. Alcohol will also keep you from entering the deeper stages of sleep, where your body does most of its healing.
- Don’t do high intense exercise too close to bedtime. Exercising is beneficial for health but is best performed in the morning or afternoon if you can manage it, otherwise more relaxing exercises such as tai chi, yoga or pilates would be more beneficial in the evening.
- Eat a little snack before bed. It may sound surprising but our bodies use a lot of energy during sleep and if your blood sugar is low or you haven’t eaten enough throughout the day, this can cause you to wake during the night. Stewed seasonal fruit with natural yoghurt is a good bedtime snack. But ideally you want to make sure you are eating balanced meals (protein, carbohydrate and saturated fat) every 3-4 hours throughout the day so you shouldn’t need to snack before bed.
I have combined my best selling Sleep Time Tea and Sleep Time Bath & Body Oil into the ultimate kit to help ensure a good night’s sleep. I know myself, having a routine before bed helps me unwind and I created this kit to help my clients solve their poor sleeping habits. I hope it helps you too!