The following is a guest post by freelance blogger Sarah.
We all know how great a good night’s sleep can be. Some mornings we just wake up feeling invincible, like we can take on the entire world and win.
Study after study is now confirming just how important sleep is for both our physical and mental health.
We all know the immediate effects of a bad night’s rest – the irritability, headaches, bags under our eyes and the desire to binge eat ourselves into oblivion.
Less of us know the long-term impact. Chronic poor sleepers are more prone to obesity, diabetes, depression and a whole range of cancers.
Yet, ironically just as we are beginning to learn exactly how fundamentally important sleep is to almost every facet of our lives, as a society we have never slept worst.
Almost one third of us will suffer from a sleeping problems at some stage in our lives and the majority of us don’t get the doctor-recommended eight hours a night.
As a society we are sleep-walking into a health crisis of our own causing. Our fundamental problem is that we don’t respect sleep enough.
If you suffer from sleep problems, before you go and start knocking back handfuls of potentially addictive sleeping pills, check out these 3 tips on how to rediscover your sleeping mojo…
Respect Your Bedtime
Bedtimes are not just for children. Oh no. The human body adores routine. A hell of a lot of physical process are undertaken when we are asleep and the more predictable our daily patterns are the more efficiently our body is able to undertake them.
Pick a realistic bedtime time that works for you and try not to stray from it too much. A quick rule of thumb is simply work backwards eight hours from the time you need to be up and awake for work the following day.
And don’t worry, a night out here or there won’t harm you too much but constantly going to bed at random times will.
The benefits of regular bedtimes will soon become apparent when not only your ability to sleep improves but that you have more energy during the daytime. Things such as dietary choices and the desire to exercise may also improve as regular sleep
Respect Your Pre-bed Routine
The key to being able to drop off to sleep promptly is being in a relaxed state of mind when you get into bed. Unfortunately far too many of us choose to burn the candle right up until we get under the sheets.
Heading to bed with a racing mind is going to do nobody any good. You will just end up tossing and turning and psychologically you will begin to associate your bed with your sleep problems and not with sleep. The solution, only head to bed when tired.
To achieve this is easy. Once you’ve found your perfect bedtime work back another hour and set this time aside as wind-down time.
Make the sixty minutes before your head touches that pillow a period of calm. Don’t undertake any activities that could remotely be considered stressful – so no flight booking, no filling in of tax forms and no watching scary movies.
In fact, no watching or looking at any screens at all – the blue light they emit is the devil when it comes to sleep.
Instead find a set of repeatable actions that are gentle and low impact.
Iron and set out your clothes for the following day. Layout your breakfast things. Pack your back. Make a to-do list for tomorrow. Have a shower. Brush your hair. Read a book. Meditate.
By creating a routine you will signal to your brain that sleep is on the horizon and it will learn to respond by slowing down and preparing itself for bed. We are nothing if not creatures of habit.
Respect Your Bedroom
Your bedroom should be treated as a holy sanctuary dedicated to one god alone – sleep.
We spend a full one third of our lives asleep, and therefore we spend a lot of time in our beds and our bedrooms. Yet for too long now we have disrespected our places of slumber and we are paying the price in lost hours.
Our bedrooms should not be treated as an office, a home cinema or somewhere to run your social media empire from. Those activities should be kept outside where they belong.
Take a moment and have a think – is my bedroom really set up for sleep?
Entering a bedroom should be immediately calming. The walls should be a nice muted colour. If there is clutter, declutter. If your curtains don’t block out the light from outside, get better curtains. And if your bed and pillows aren’t up to the job, then for heaven’s sake sort it out.
For more hints and tips on how to transform you sleeping space into one your body deserves check out the expert advice of the Sleep Advisor team.
Well there you have it – 3 tips to defeat sleeping problems. Treat sleep with the respect it deserves and the rewards will be improved health and a happier life.
Hey everybody. My name is Sarah and I’m a freelance blogger. I love sleep so much that I now write about it full-time. When I’m not writing I like to spend time in sunny California with my kids and dog – “Kip”. Yup, I really do love sleep!
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