I have changed the priority I give to sleep. It has made a big difference. Sleep is critical for both our mental and physical well-being. There is no bodily function that is not enhanced by sleep.
Even shot term sleep deprivation causes increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, impairs our body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, it also activates our sympathetic nervous system, which can make us feel jumpy and stressed. When sleep is deprived, we produce the hormone Ghrelin which stimulates hunger. That explains why so many of us struggle to stick to healthy food choices and exercise regimes.
Did you know that rats deprived of sleep die in a month! The longest any human has managed to stay awake is a mere 11 days!
When you sleep well, you have improved concentration, it’s easier to make better choices the following day, you crave less sugary foods, feel more energetic and you will sleep even better!
- We should strive to wake up at the same time each day give or take 30 mins, without an alarm.
- Start your day by focusing on gratitude then say 5,4,3,2,1 and bounce out of bed.
- Spend at least 20 mins outside every morning without sunglasses. Raise your awareness to nature. This releases the happy hormone Serotonin. It is critical for well-being & good quality sleep at night. Suggest having the morning cup of tea outdoors.
- Take regular light breaks during your day to clear your mind & increase your efficiency.
- Enjoy your caffeine before noon.
- Reduce your sugar intake. This will give you more energy and reduce the likelihood of craving a caffeine pick-me-up in the afternoon.
- Avoid strenuous exercise & eating after 7pm, focus on relaxing exercise such as yoga.
- Stick to the same bedtime. If required take a nap during the day, no longer that 40 mins. NASA found that if co-pilots took a 26 min nap their alertness improved by 82%.
- Make it a rule not to check work emails 90 mins before bed.
- Set an alarm to signal that wind down must begin at least 60 mins before bedtime.
- Avoid sleep interruption by tackling unfinished business from the day. Write your top three priorities for tomorrow in a notebook, jot down any question you have and let your subconscious process and figure out the details for it while you sleep.
- Avoid TV thrillers or TV that’s full of trauma & anxiety 30 minutes before you go to bed, opt for something light-hearted or a documentary.
- Avoid discussing emotive subjects including financial matters in the evenings, anything that is bound to set your mind working. A racing mind is one of the biggest causes of suboptimal sleep.
- Avoid screen use, blue light, at least 30 minutes before you go to bed to allow yourself to deeply relax, and let go. If you must try use Amber glasses as they filter out blue light.
- Use soft lighting, as blue light at night is similar to staring at the sun, if you have Himalayan salt lamps even better they offer a warm glow.
- Enjoy a warm and relaxing mug of herbal sleep tea. Avoid stimulants.
- Take a few moments to look up at the night sky and connect with the moon & feel the vastness of the universe!
- Listen to relaxing music.
- Diffuse some sleep inducing oils eg lavender essential oil. If possible, run a bath, add a drop of essential oil like lavender or chamomile.
- Gentle stretch, this will promote relaxation and allow any stress and tension from the day to melt away.
- Fill out your journal, tune into gratitude for the day.
- Ensure your room is dark. Blackout curtains are a must. A dark bedroom signals the brain, and body that it’s time to rest, and sleep. Use a sleep mask if required.
- Open the bedroom window a little to circulate fresh air and keep the room cool.
- Leave a glass of water of water by your bedside, primarily to drink the next morning.
- Read next to a dim light until feel ready to fall asleep.
- Deep Breaths, clear your mind, let go, and get into a relaxed and present state. Relax your mind, relax your body, and drift off into a deep and healing good night’s sleep.