A poor night's sleep can have a huge impact on our lives, well beyond 3:30-itis. Our social, emotional, mental and physical health all rely on good sleep (it’s seriously underrated!). By making sleep a priority, you may start to see small but significant changes in other areas of your life.
So where should you start?
Here are some top tips to support quality sleep:
Establish a night time routine: having a night time routine helps your mind and body recognise and prepare for sleep, this could be having a shower or bath, reading a book, making a cup of tea...whatever helps you start to slow down and relax.
Have a regular wake up time (even on weekends!): this will help regulate your sleep and wake cycles, so you are alert at the right times during the day and start feeling tired as night time approaches.
Control the light at night: light exposure influences our sleep rhythm and sleep hormones (that’s why we recommend to limit screens before bed!).There are many different types of light, but blue-light in particular has a negative impact on our sleep. Blue-light is emitted from screens, fluorescent and LED lighting. So, by avoiding these in the lead up to bed can make for a much better night's sleep.
Avoid sleep disruptors as best you can: these can be dietary (i.e. alcohol, caffeine, large meals), environmental (i.e. noises, lights, fur babies) and psychological (i.e. arguments, emotion, stress). So, consider investing in some blockout blinds and ear plugs, and sub that night cap out for a night cuppa.
Participate in regular physical activity: exercise offers many benefits to sleep, it helps to stabilize mood, reduce anxiety and stress. It has also been shown to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and improve the quality of sleep. Remember, by waking at a consistent time every day, getting outside and moving your body - when night time comes you’ll be tired and ready for bed.
There are many positive changes you can make to form healthy sleep habits, some may work like a dream, others not so much. But, as with any change, it is important to start small and focus on one goal at a time.
When you can safely tick off that goal as a new habit, you are ready to move onto the next. Consistency and persistence is key to success!