While most of us recognise the benefits of having enough sleep, we don’t always make it a priority, and getting enough shut-eye can be particularly challenging in times of stress or when our usual routine is disrupted. High quality sleep is linked to a myriad of amazing health benefits, including improved productivity and concentration, greater athletic performance, reduced inflammation in the body, and a stronger immune system, to name a few. There are some simple things we can do to help ensure we wake up feeling rested, recharged and ready to tackle a new day. Find some calm amongst the chaos and enjoy a restful night’s sleep with these top tips.
Eat for sleep
A well-balanced diet with limited alcohol and processed foods is a tried and tested way to prepare your mind and body for sleep. Take it to the next level by incorporating ingredients with sleep-enhancing properties, such as olives, walnuts, asparagus, tomatoes or fatty fish like salmon. Be sure to choose wholegrains over refined white bread and pasta.
Take a hot bath
The abrupt drop in body temperature we experience after taking a bath has been shown to help induce sleep. To prepare for an even better night’s sleep, add a few drops of lavender essential oil. Lavender is widely known for its relaxation properties.
Adopt a wind-down ritual
A regular, nightly routine helps train the body and mind to unwind, as your brain begins to associate the routine with rest. Do this ritual at the same time every day to start seeing results. Our picks are a calming cup of tea (minus the caffeine, of course) like chamomile or peppermint, a chapter of a book followed by some light stretching.
Put the phone down
Not only does your mind stay active and engaged long after you’ve finished scrolling, but the ‘blue light’ emitted by screens such as mobile phones and televisions, delays the release of melatonin and increases alertness, disrupting your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Self-impose a digital detox 1-2 hours before bed and spend the time instead playing a boardgame, reading a book or having a good old-fashioned conversation with a loved one.
Darken the room
Remove as much light as possible from the bedroom. It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that a dark room helps your brain produce more melatonin, helping signal it’s time to go to sleep. Ensure blinds and curtains are fully closed and any outside lights that could be seeping through are switched off.
Breathe, baby breathe
Calm your mind and body with deep breathing. Slow your heart rate and let go of tension by closing your eyes and focusing on breathing into your abdomen rather than shallow breathing in your chest. So simple, yet so effective.