Sleep is a crucial cornerstone habit. Sleep deprivation has been shown to impact your mood, hunger levels, your ability to resist temptation, your exercise performance, and your ability to make healthy food choices. Basically sleep impacts your ability to execute and be successful in all your healthy habits. Therefore, getting more quality sleep is a huge priority if you wish to stick with your healthy habits long term.
Your routine is everything when it comes to both sleep quality and quantity. You want to go back to the same principals you would use with children in terms of training sleep patterns that will provide maximum impact.
Below are some suggestions on how to enhance your sleep routine.
1. Timing matters
· 8pm-12am (or 8-11pm if you want to maximise the restorative processes for skin) is the optimal time to go to sleep
· In order to support this, set yourself a sleep alarm to remind you to start winding down and going to bed
· Avoid social jet lag where possible. Research shows you cannot ‘catch up’ on sleep on the weekend, where possible it is best to stick to the same routine 7 days a week
· Experiment with a “wind down hour” where you start to do less stimulating activities and more soothing activities that will help your body and mind get into a sleep zone. For example; journaling, reading, listening to music, lighting candles, using oils, drinking camomile tea
2. Create the right environment
o For getting to sleep: reduce overhead/harsh lighting in the evening using side lamps and candles to reflect the outside darkness cycle.
· Reduce blue light by avoiding TV watching (this is a stimulating activity), and screen time. Apply blue light filters to your mobiles, and f.lux app to your other screens.
· Block out lights in your room, black out curtains or eyemasks can help. Aromatherapy associates are my favourite for travelling: https://www.spacenk.com/uk/en_GB/accessories/tools/skincare-tools/relax-holistic-silk-eye-mask-MUK200012551.html
· Use a light lamp to simulate the outside environment i.e. sunset and sunrise. Allowing you to get to sleep quicker and wake easier (this is especially important for winter). Lumie is my favourite and can be found on Amazon: https://www.lumie.com/collections/all
· Our body temperature often needs to drop before we can fall into restful sleep. Keeping your bedroom environment cool can help. Silk sheets and pillowcases (which are also helpful for wrinkle prevention in front sleepers) can help as well as specialist cooling pads: https://www.chilitechnology.com/products/chiligel-cooling-pad
3. Diet and exercise can both help and hinder
· Intense exercise in the evening can prevent restful sleep however daily exercise in the morning is beneficial for sleep. Gentle exercise such as yoga is best for evenings. You can read more about the interaction of sleep and exercise on our blog here.
· Whilst certain foods can disrupt sleep, red wine, chocolate, coffee. Other foods are known to enhance sleep, turkey, almonds, camomile tea. Additionally, taking magnesium supplements or using magnesium creams can help boost sleep quality. I use: https://betteryou.com/transdermal-magnesium.
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