Cultivating health sleep habits
Having a healthy sleep routine is one of the most fundamental pillars of overall health and happiness, however we know it can also be one of the most tricky aspects to get right. With an ever online and digital world, heightened anxiety globally and ever increasing new forms of stimulation it can be hard to get enough good quality shut eye.
We hear you, we feel you- we know how hard it can be to function without adequate sleep! If you’re struggling to maintain a good sleep routine, read on through some of our favourite tips to help get you sleepy, and dozing off!
Stick to a Scheduled Bed Time
One of the best things you can do to kickstart good sleep hygiene is to get yourself into a routine, which focuses on going to bed at the same time each night. Why is this so important? Glad you asked!
Our bodies are incredibly smart, and they actually have a kind of internal clock, and hormones that control sleepiness and wakefulness. This clock functions best if there is a regular sleep routine, and much less better if your hours are erratic. Pay attention to when your brain naturally begins to get sleepy: it could be as early as 8pm or as late at 11pm- everyone’s clock is different and one of the best things you can do for your sleep hygiene is to find the routine and timing that fits in best with your body clock and your schedule.
In the hour (or hour and a half) before going to bed, it is important to have a relaxing sleep routine. It may take you a few tries to find one that works for you, and some of the most popular things to try include reading a good book, drinking a glass of warm milk with cinnamon or a caffeine-free tea, or having a relaxing bath.
No Caffeine After 2pm
If you are seriously trying to improve your sleep hygiene, or sleep earlier in the evenings then caffeine should be completely avoided for at least six hours before bedtime. Yeah, you read that right- six hours! At least! Caffeine can take six hours to leave your system and it’s very important that it’s all out of your system before you start preparing to sleep.
When we say caffeine here, we’re not just talking about coffees and black tea. Coke, other teas, and many other soft or sport drinks contain caffeine as well. Read the labels carefully before drinking anything in the afternoon that could have caffeine in it! Got caffeine? Not after 2pm!
Turn Screens Off 2 Hours Before
Any kind of activity that overly stimulates your brain should be avoided for at least one full hour before bed- and while this can be a long list of things screen time is the biggest offender due to the blue lights emanating from the screens. To give your brain the best chance of unwinding, and your body the best chance to prepare for a good sleep try to avoid all screens for at least an hour before bed. This means you shouldn’t be playing computer games, watching television or movies, using social media and responding to/sending text messages.
Meal Time Cut Off
It’s hard to sleep when you’re still digesting dinner- or your cheeky late-night dessert. While we’re always here for a good meal, it’s recommended that you leave at least 2, preferably 3, hours between the end of your last meal and when you hit the hay. This will give your body enough time to move through the natural digestion cycle and start preparing to sleep.
Plan for at least 8 Hours
It’s an inescapable fact that the vast majority of adults do need between seven and eight hours sleep per night. If you are recovering from a period of bad sleep hygiene you may need more while your body recovers and rebalances. It’s important to be realistic about your sleep needs, and give yourself time to adjust to both your new sleep routine and time. Aim to spend around 8-9 hours in your bed each night.
Good sleeping routines is so important for your overall health and wellbeing. If you’re someone who really struggles to get to sleep then it may be worth checking in with your GP to see if they can help you with this. Get sleepy folks!