Set Yourself Up To Sleep Like A Baby
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important factors to you living a happy, stress free life. But for many, a good night’s sleep has become an elusive luxury.
Not enough hours in the day? You've got kids on erratic sleep schedules? You're so wired you lie awake starting at the ceiling, whizzing through your to-do-list?
Yep - getting good shut eye can be tough!
But, the good news? there are LOADS of ways that you can make it easier.
In this blog (the first in my month-long series of sleep blogs), I’ll share my top tips for setting your day up right so you catch those elusive zzz's!
Check out my video below or read on for gems of sleepy wisdom.
Claim your day to claim your night.
If your current routine looks a bit like this …
You shoot out of bed ...
Sprint into your day ...
Suck down a flat white ...
Eat lunch al desko ...
Scoff a sweet treat at 3pm ...
Chug down some water as you eat dinner ...
Catch up on emails while you catch-up on your latest Netflix episode...
And then wonder why you struggle to wind down come bedtime…
How ‘bout trying this out for size?
1. Get outside
Getting outside and allowing natural light to hit your eyes will do wonders for resetting your circadian rhythm. Even better: get outside as the sun is coming up (this signals to your brain it’s time to ramp up for the day) and when it's going down (signalling it’s time to wind down).
Extra for experts: get some blue and green (wavelengths of light of course)!
Getting outside and looking at blue and green things (like trees, grass, water and sky) promotes the production of serotonin, which will make you feel awesome during the day, and it then converts to melatonin which will help you sleep like a baby later on.
This is a simple and obvious one, but if you can squeeze in some movement during your day, you’ll feel SO much better, and, the clincher, you'll sleep so much better!
You might hit the gym, go for a run or head to a yoga class. But even if all you do is walk around the block, take the stairs instead of the lift, or walk the long way to work from the train station, you’ll notice improvements in your ability to catch some shut eye.
However, ‘exercise’ (geddit?) some caution here. If you exercise too late in the day, particularly if your movement of choice is high intensity/strenuous cardio, it may be counterproductive to sleep. Ideally you'll move more vigorously early in the day and transition to more restorative movement practices later in the evening.
3. Think about what you’re putting in your body
If you’re partial to a hit of caffeine to wind you up, sugar to keep you going, and then a drink to ‘wine-d’ you down at the end of the day, then please read on.
Caffeine has a half life of 5-6 hours. Meaning 5-6 hours after you consume the stuff, half of it is still left in your blood! For many of us, the closer we drink coffee to bedtime, the harder it'll be to sleep.
Some people swear coffee doesn't affect their ability to sleep. But, even if you’re able to slide into dreamland easily enough, having caffeine in your system will prevent you from reaching deep restorative sleep states. So although you might be getting good sleep quantity, your sleep quality will be impaired.
And it’s the same with booze. For many people, a nightcap is the perfect way to ‘wine-down’ at the end of the day. For others, it’s a lovely social ritual. But any booze in your system come snooze time will prevent you from hitting the elusive deep REM sleep state. So while you may feel like you’ve slept like a log, chances are the restorative quality of your sleep will be massively impaired.
And guess what? It’s the same with sugar! Sugar is a stimulant, so the more of the sweet stuff in our bodies, the harder it’ll be for us to chill out and get some sleep.
Sorry guys …
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you need to go without any sugar, wine or coffee. I’m simply suggesting you be mindful of how, why and when you’re consuming them and get real about the impact they’re having on your sleep.
Bringing awareness to how you’re interacting with your day can have a dramatic impact on how you interact with your sleep.
So many of us rush from thing to thing (both literally and figuratively), giving little thought to how this constant feeling of pressurised rushed-ness is impacting us.
And while we don’t always have control over the sheer number of ‘things’ in our lives, we have more control than we think over our perceptions and reactions to them (easier said than done I know!).
My challenge to you is to approach each day with the intention of cultivating calm. Notice when you’re getting caught up in rushing. Notice when your body is tensing. And see if you can invite a sense of space. PAUSE as often as you can and notice how this impacts not only your day, but also your ability to wind down at night.
For more on this topic, Dr Libby’s book Rushing Women’s syndrome is FANTASTIC! It totally changed my outlook on my rushy nature.
If you’d like to chat more about what in your day might be affecting your sleep, or you’d like some help with cultivating that elusive sense of space in your day, then please book in a discovery session today (it's free!). I’d love to chat with you!
And in the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for the next installments of sleep tips and tricks.