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It takes up one third of our life. We do it best in the dark and lying flat. It boosts our moods, improves digestion and aids weight loss if we get enough of it. Sometimes we do it together, other times we do it alone. We struggle to get enough of it. It impacts our whole health and wellbeing…It’s sleep!
“You can sleep when you’re dead”, is a saying that we have all heard, wearing it like a badge of honour, but its not actually something you should have if you want to enjoy a life without ailments, illness and disease.
Sleep is massively under appreciated with statements regularly in the media informing us on how much time we waste sleeping and what we could be doing if we weren’t sleeping. But if we are ill, lack energy, low in mood, can’t think clearly, etc then what’s the point?
“Yea yea, I get 5-6 hours sleep a night and that’s all I need”…you may have heard this come from peoples mouths.
“Based on science – the number of people who can survive on 6 hours of sleep without impairment is ZERO”, says M. Walker, a psychologist and neuroscientist working at the University of California who has been studying sleep for more than 20 years . Even missing out on 1 hour of sleep per night can help point you in the direction of low moods, illness, poor digestion, stress and if consistent can lead to cancer, stroke and Alzheimer’s.
When I work with clients I analyse their diet and exercise but more importantly, I dig deep on their lifestyle such as sleep, hydration levels, stress etc…these are ALWAYS the bigger factors that have been impacting their health in a negative way and ones that need changing first.
Now I have made my point lets layout some tips to follow in order to make sure you get that much needed quality sleep.
- The most important factors to determine our personal sleeping pattern are our internal circadian rhythm and what is known as the sleep/wake homeostasis. These two internal factors are then influenced by external physical and social “time indicators”, like the amount of light around you and your cultural setting . That’s why these tips will help cover both. Some people even say we should be sleeping by utilising our natural rhythms by sleeping in 90 min cycles. There’s and app for that if you want to try it – sleepyti.me
- Don’t have caffeine past midday – even if you think its not affecting you, try it. That includes chocolate and coca cola (if you drink this nasty stuff still).
- No technology for 2 hours before bed, try something else like reading or playing games. I bought a load of childhood games in a shop and it was such fun to actually get away from a TV and socialise and laugh. Or start getting creative and make some things for Christmas.
- Don’t have a big meal an hour before bed; you will wake up as your body is trying to digest it.
- I know you may think alcohol helps you sleep, but it doesn’t. It may help you get off to sleep but your quality of sleep will be crap.
- Don’t down a pint of water just before bed, you’re going to be up all night weeing. Try to stop drinking liquids an hour or 2 before bed.
- Darken your room, soft light before bed so your body can get use to starting to wind down.
- If you have a busy mind, do a brain dump. This is so powerful so don’t gloss over this part thinking its woo woo. Grab a notepad and write, EVERYTHING that pops into your head. It doesn’t have to make sense on the page and it doesn’t have to be in order or look pretty, just dump everything in your head onto paper. Then when its empty and you literally cant think of anything else, you can stop. How do you feel now?
- If you’re lying in bed trying to sleep and you have done all of the above close your eyes and picture a big blackboard. Write on the board with your imaginary chalk 100, then rub it out from left to right with your eyes (keep them closed), then right 99, rub it off, left to right, 98 etc. The movement from left to right is the eye movement that naturally soothes you to sleep and counting down rather than up allows the brain to understand there is an end. Try it.
I hope you have taken a few tips from this article; I have loads more so if you want more help with your lifestyle to improve your overall health and wellbeing then get in touch.
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