Sleep is vital. It is the only time that our body’s soul focus can be resting, recovering and restoring.
Sleep has been stigmatised with laziness, we sleep less and work more but we don’t realise that we are seriously hurting our health and longevity.
We are all searching for the “special” pill that can make us more productive, healthier, stress free or more intelligent when all we really need to do is spend more time improving the greatest gift nature gave us. Sleep.
Here are some of the best ways to improve your quality of sleep so that you can show your body a little bit of love and let it rest;
Stick to a sleep schedule
This is the most important rule to having good quality sleep. A sleep schedule, meaning going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time each day, is essential for a healthy sleep pattern.
If you can do this in the week and on the weekends your quality of sleep will thank you.
Increase your daylight exposure
Your circadian rhythm is also largely regulated by sunlight. What we need is high light exposure in the day and low light exposure during the night to keep things ticking along nicely.
Most of you will already be thinking … modern day living is the opposite. Now we characterise modern day living as low light exposure during the day and high light exposure at night from lights in the house, phones, laptops and i-pads.
Does it suddenly make sense why we are all losing our natural ability to fall asleep and stay asleep? We have messed with our circadian rhythm.
No Caffeine after lunch
It is a no brainer that teas and coffees have caffeine in but you might be wondering how long that caffeine stays in your body.
For example, coffee has a half life of six hours, this means if you have a coffee at 12pm lunch then at 6pm there is still 1/2 of the caffeine from your coffee left in your body & 1/4 at 9pm.
We use the rule of no caffeine past lunch, this leaves time for caffeine to work its way out of your system before you go to sleep.
Skip the “sleep aids”
The things you think are helping your sleep are probably hurting your sleep. A common one is the classic “nightcap”.
Alcohol makes you feel sleepy because it is a sedative but sedation is not sleep. We have a very important part of our sleep called Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. This is the part of our sleep where we are in a deep sleep and we dream. It is vital for emotional and mental health.
Alcohol does an unforgivable job of stopping REM sleep which means you aren’t getting a full rested night sleep that you need. No wonder you never feel like you’ve not slept well after having one too many!
Take a hot bath before bed
This is not an old wives tale. Humans sleep better in cool conditions. When you have a hot bath it heats you up so much that your body works hard to excrete the heat, bringing it right to the skins surface and ultimately resulting in a lower core temperature and a better nights sleep.