Spending such a large portion of our lives in this unconscious, paralysed state hints at its importance. An adequate amount of sleep means living longer and reduces the risk of high blood pressure, weight gain and Type 2 Diabetes. The amount of sleep needed varies depending on age and person but we should be aiming for 7-9 hours a night.
So how can we try to improve our sleep?
The set up
Environment is important: the bedroom should be dark and a little bit cool. Black-out blinds or sleep masks can be useful and ear plugs or white noise may help. The bedroom shouldn’t be used as a home office but as a peaceful haven for sleep.
It’s important to stick to a regular sleep schedule - that means getting up at the same time every day (on weekends too!). It’s also good to develop a bedtime routine to let your body know it’s time to wind down - avoid bright lights (dim computer/phone screens at least 3 hours before bedtime), have a relaxing hot bath, avoid caffeine and alcohol (alcohol has a rebound effect - meaning you’re more likely to have a disrupted night’s sleep). It’s best to not to go to bed either too full or hungry so time your meals accordingly.
If you’re not able to fall asleep within 15 minutes of being in bed, get up and do something relaxing and try again later. Laying in bed stressing about how long it’s taking to fall asleep or calculating how many hours sleep you’re going to have isn’t helpful! There are many phone apps, audiobooks and podcasts available nowadays to help talk you down into relaxation and drift into a peaceful sleep. Busy brains can be quieted by keeping a notepad next to bed to write down worries or sudden thoughts – and then forgotten – to only be dealt with when refreshed in the morning.
Why not try this Ashwagandha Hot Chocolate to help you nod off tonight?