In our 24/7, ever-connected world, it can be really difficult to switch off at the end of the day. Yet sleep is so important for our health and seven to nine hours a night is what we need to really rest and repair.
Recently, I’ve been doing a whole lot of research into sleeping habits and how different factors - such as temperature and light - create disrupted sleep patterns. What I've realised is that cultivating healthy sleep habits is one of the best ways I can support myself to live a healthy life. Not only does sleeping deeply let your body and brain revitalise but it also builds physical and mental resilience.
Most importantly, what I've worked out is that it's what's happening before my head hits the pillow that really counts for a better night's sleep. Here’s five good things I’m discovering to help my sleep:
Blocking Out Artificial Light After Dark - Whether it’s blue light from the computer screen, TV or phone, being exposed to just a few hours of this kind of light after the sun sets can stop the body’s ability to produce enough melatonin (our sleep hormone) and this disrupts sleep patterns. I’ve been turning off my devices at night and also having a play with blue light blocking glasses (the ones with orange lenses).
Creating A Bedtime Routine - Along with shutting down my devices for healthier sleep habits, I’ve also stopped falling asleep on the couch in front of the TV (bonus!). Instead I'm giving it my best bash at creating bedtime routine. Because we don’t have a bath at home, I have a hot shower or soak my feet in a hot tub of Epsom salts (magnesium). I also like to have a cup of chamomile tea before bed and, if I haven't had a foot soak, I'll take 150 - 300mg of good quality magnesium (Right now, I'm using Swisse). On the nights that I manage most or all of this relaxing routine, I notice I get a much better-quality sleep.
Lowering Bedroom Temperature - one of the biggest changes I’ve made is to begin sleeping in a cooler room because studies show that the optimal temperature for sleep is between 15 - 20 degrees. My room used to be 22 degrees and I would often wake during the night. Now just a few degrees cooler at 19 degrees and I’m sleeping through.
Avoiding Alcohol and Sugar - Alcohol and sugar used to be old friends but these culprits have been disrupting my sleep patterns badly. Recently I cut both out and am sleeping like a princess on a pea.
Descending Into Darkness - When I get home, I put my phone on the charger and keep it well away from my bedroom so there is no artificial light, noise or notification to disturb me during the night. I’ve also got curtains that don’t leak any light so that my room is totally dark.
Yours in health and happiness, KB xx