Good sleep is just as important for your body as diet & exercise. Aside from the obvious win of feeling well-rested and energised for a new day, sleep has a number of important benefits. It can help increase your attention, decrease stress, enhance creativity, and promote health. As someone who has had over 30 years experience sleeping, this is what I’ve learned to help me sleep like a baby… Well, not actually like a baby, they’re notoriously bad at sleeping.
- You know the saying ‘a good carpenter never blames his tools’? That’s because a good carpenter never has poor quality tools. If you’re sleeping on a mattress handed down to you from Grandma, it’s time for an upgrade. You need to keep your spine aligned & supported, and you need good breathability and airflow.
Hugo Sleep ticks all the mattress boxes (pun intended, this mattress comes in a box). If it’s a comfortable, supportive, breathable night sleep you’re looking for, then Hugo is your man, errh, mattress. The same goes for your pillow. Too low or too high and your spine won’t stay aligned overnight, leaving you with a sore neck or back in the morning.
- Repeat after me, ‘thou shalt not scroll through thy phone prior to slumber’. We all know the feeling of finishing off the day with one last flick through Instagram or Facebook, or perhaps you’re on a Netflix binge. As tempting as it may be to maximise your evening, you need to give your mind time to unwind. The blue light emitted by your backlit screen is reducing the amount of melatonin (your body’s natural sleeping tablet) your body produces. At least half an hour before bed (go on, make it an hour), is the time to unplug and unwind.
- Go to bed and get up at the same time… every day. Who doesn’t love a good weekend sleep in? But sadly, late nights and late mornings aren’t doing you any favours. It’s better to keep a consistent bedtime and wake up at the same time each day so your body can maintain a routine.
As much as we may like to think we are masters of our own body, when it comes to sleep, melatonin is your boss. In order to regulate your melatonin levels throughout the day, a consistent wake up time will be your new bestie. Our bodies are routine driven. Do yourself a favour, be consistent. And eat a taco.
- Did your mother ever tell you to tidy your room? Turns out she was right! This may sound like basic hygiene 101, but keep your room tidy! A dusty & cluttered room is harming the quality of your sleep.
A study at St Lawrence University in 2015 found hoarders took longer to fall asleep and had a worse quality of sleep than those in a clean & tidy room. Dust in the room increases your chance of reacting to dust mites, and ruins the quality of your sleep. Plus, surely just the thought of dust mites crawling all over your room is enough to ruin your night’s sleep.
- Don’t count sheep. Falling asleep is time for passive thoughts, not active thoughts. If you’re anything like me, you think through the biggest things consuming your life while you’re lying in bed. Do yourself a favour, switch those thoughts off. Sleep time is not the time to solve problems or think about the stresses of tomorrow, or even worse, think about how you’re not asleep and you should be.
It can be difficult to stop thinking about something you’re already thinking about, but the quicker you can master the art of self-distraction, the better. Sleep time is time to focus on things you enjoy, not things that worry you. Start thinking about the next holiday you’re planning, or how much you enjoyed that dinner last night. Passive thoughts, not active thoughts. Ban the sheep.