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How to get better sleep – You know you aren’t getting enough!




I could go on and on for days about the benefits of a good night’s sleep – gone are the days where we think we can survive on 4 hours sleep and thrive, I don’t care what you think, you do that and essentially, we are driving ourselves into an early grave. Harsh but true. I can pin point you to wards many reliable scientific resources supporting that should you wish – just pop me a message and I will fire them your way.

 

Physically and mentally, from a hormonal perspective, recovery perspective, cognitive perspective, dieting perspective (and the rest!), I cannot drive home enough how important it is to get adequate sleep, this looks different for us all but I really wouldn’t recommend ANYONE getting less than 7 hours per night.

 

I know that for some this might seem impossible – so let’s work on it together. I could spend days going into all of the science behind sleep, it’ something I have done plenty of reading around, but for today I think some practical tips on a better night’s sleep would be more useful for us all.

 

-       The right temperature is key, again, this is going to look different for everyone but the research tells us that cooler is better than feeling too warm. This helps the body relax more optimally and avoid waking up in a pool of our own sweat – menopause related hot flushes aside!

 

-       A quiet environment goes without saying really – white noise or earplugs can work well to block out outside sounds if you’re struggling. Although ignoring your crying baby might not work so well. I can’t stop that one I’m afraid, you gotta do what you gotta do!!

 

-       Comfortable mattress and bed clothes – really need no more explanation.

 

-       Blocking out any excess light can be really helpful, especially in the summer time – black out curtains or blinds if you can.

 

-       Now this will be an unfathomable one for many, but avoiding any sort of electronics in the bedroom can be a real game changer – TVs, phones, IPads, laptops can be stimulating and should really be avoided for an hour or so at least before we sleep if you ask me. The blue light that these things omit too, plays havoc with our circadian rhythm, telling our body that it’s time to wake up when we are trying to wind down. Your body produces a sleep hormone (melatonin) in response to darkness, telling us that it is time to sleep, this blue light makes it difficult for the brain to recognise the darkness at night making it more challenging to fall (and stay!) asleep.

 

-       Remember a tidy environment is a tidy mind – if our brain is all cluttered, we will either find it difficult to get to sleep or wake up in the night unable to get back off to sleep. So, tidy that room, and perhaps a pen and paper by your bed to get down any thoughts from the day, and what you need to do the following day, would work wonders (this is something I actually implement with a number of my clients actually – we call it a mind dump).

 

-       Something else I work on with many, many of my guys, and I don’t think they realise how much it probably affected them until we try it, is to limit caffeine and alcohol. No, I’m not a fun sponge and certainly love caffeine (and an espresso martini!) myself, more than your average person, but both are stimulants and finding an approach that works for you in terms of a caffeine cut off and moderation with alcohol can be another game changer. I know that many of you think that you aren’t affected by either but I promise you, even if you do fall asleep and stay asleep, your quality of sleep is substandard and WILL have a negative impact in the couple of days post.

 

So, there you have it. Some of these things might seem super simple and obvious but given that they are so basic, there are many of us still not acting upon them and putting up with substandard sleep.

 

So, let’s change just one thing that could make our sleep more optimal today. What will yours be? I’m going to try some white noise tonight!

 

Let me know yours!

 

Peace and love (and happy snoozing!), A x

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