Do you feel truly rested when you wake in the morning? If you can’t answer this question with a definite ‘yes’, then the chances are you’re not sleeping well. Sleep is important. We all know this, but many of us fail to understand just why a good night’s sleep is so vital to our wellbeing. Rejuvenating sleep can be the key to health and wellbeing, but sleep problems can often be the gateway to all manner of subsequent issues. Our time spent asleep is when the body clears harmful toxins from the system, including the brain. Our cells undergo essential repair while we sleep, and children do all their growing while sleeping. Our digestive systems relax while we sleep, as our minds reboot and perform essential maintenance as we slip into deep, REM sleep. We’re firmly of the belief that there’s nothing complicated about getting into good sleep habits, but we know that the way we live our lives today creates serious obstacles to that deep, restorative sleep so many of us crave. So here are our seven top tips for sleeping better, tonight.
- Get Comfortable
A bedroom temperature of 60 to 68 degrees is optimal for most sleepers, whatever the weather’s doing outside. In warmer climates, an oscillating fan or an air conditioner set to 70 degrees will get the bedroom atmosphere just right for a peaceful night’s sleep. If you’re struggling to get comfy, do a simple ‘body scan’ when you get into bed tonight and really try to tune into which areas of your body might be causing discomfort. Adapting your sleeping position and using good quality pillows made of natural fibres – like organic buckwheat – can make all the difference. If your days are physical and you feel stiff or achy at bedtime, some simple yoga stretches could help alleviate discomfort that prevents good sleep.
- Switch Off
The screens of smartphones, tablets and some laptops emit a blue wavelength that interferes with the neurons in your brain that control your circadian rhythm (which tells your body when to sleep and when to wake). This blue light essentially tells the brain and body that it’s time to wake up – the last thing you need when you’ve been on the go all day. Screen-staring also busies the mind with emails, messages and newsfeeds you should be switching off from at bed time. Simple solution: ban all technology from the bedroom and reach for a good book if you need to occupy yourself for a while before bed. If you must glance at your phone, download the F.lux app which filters the blue light glare.
If you’ve banished all phones and tablets from your bedside you’re off to a good start, but many of us still experience a racing mind before bedtime. As little as five minutes’ meditation, practised consistently, can make a world of difference as you slowly become reacquainted with how it feels to be calm and still in both body and mind. Meditation can ease anxiety, depression and physical pain – all obstacles to a good night’s sleep.