5 Easy Tips For a Better Sleep

Are you getting enough? More quality sleep = far better health.

As adults we need somewhere between 7-8 hours of good quality sleep each night to allow our best chances of recovery and regeneration overnight. This helps maximise our energy levels and brain power for the following day. Poor sleep can impact on our health by affecting our hormones, elevating both physical and emotional stress and making it difficult to lose weight. Try these easy tips to boost your sleep quality:

  • Maintain a regular bedtime – plan to go to bed around the same time every night. We insist on this with our young children, but lose the art as adults, although it is just as important. A short daily bedtime routine may include consuming a herbal tea, taking a warm bath and having a good read to calm the mind and soothe the body ready for sleep.
  • Identify and eliminate anything that may stimulate the senses before bed – eg. caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. Some medications can disrupt sleep as well because they contain caffeine. While alcohol may have a sedating effect, the enzymes that we produce to break down the alcohol actually have the opposite effect. Certain compounds such as colourings, flavourings and refined carbohydrates can also act as stimulants.
  • Don’t dine too late – try to have a regular schedule for meals, which will keep your appetite hormones in check.
  • A small bedtime snack may help – low night time blood sugar levels can cause insomnia. Choose foods high in tryptophan, eg. turkey, chicken, eggs, cottage cheese and nuts, especially almonds. This should be a snack, not a full meal, so it is easily digested.
  • Set the scene – aim to keep your bedroom a peaceful haven by removing all electronic devices including TV’s and bright lights. Cultivate the mood for sleep with dim lighting and encourage winding down.

 

What You May Not Know About Sleep!

Sleep affects every aspect of our life, but for many of us a sound and refreshing sleep completely evades us!

Did you know:

  1. about 30% of us suffer from insomnia at some point in our life
  2. around 25% of children diagnosed with ADHD have a sleep disorder. When poor sleep is addressed, their symptoms disappear.
  3. one night of sleep deprivation can put your body into a diabetic state.
  4. a decrease in sleep of only 1.5 hours per night can reduce performance by up to 32%.
  5. reaction time after staying awake for 17-19 hours is worse than a 0.05% blood alcohol level.

Improving the quality of our sleep is a priority for better health. 

Is A Good Night’s Sleep Only a Dream?

Sleep deprivation is hazardous to our health! Major health risks include: weight gain, Type 2 Diabetes, ADHD, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, stroke, etc.

Millions of Australians have trouble sleeping and it is progressively getting worse with an ever increasing number of electronic gadgets and bad habits. When you fail to get enough sleep, there is decreased blood flow to the brain, which disrupts thinking, memory and concentration.

Healthy sleep is essential to healthy brain function. Sleep rejuvenates all the cells in your body, gives brain cells time to repair, helps to wash away toxins that build up through the day, and allows activation of neuronal connections (cells that transmit nerve impulses), that otherwise deteriorate due to inactivity.

Strategies for improving sleep … (Try some of these until you find something that works for you!):

  1. Set a regular sleep time – get up & go to bed at around the same time each day, even on weekends.
  2. Create a restful bedroom – control temperature so it’s not too hot or cold, keep the room as dark as possible.
  3. Develop a soothing bedtime routine – use relaxing music or nature sounds, meditate, stretch, do some relaxation breathing, have a warm bath or a massage.
  4. Avoid daytime naps, if you’re having trouble sleeping – this can disrupt your sleep cycle.
  5. Stay away from stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, nicotine or sugar – at least 4-6 hours before bed.
  6. Avoid a full stomach – don’t eat for 2-3 hours before bed.
  7. Regular exercise – this is highly beneficial, but not within a few hours of going to bed.

Turn your dreams into a reality and sleep well again … zzzzz

 

 

Finding it hard to get to sleep at night?

Try a simple breathing exercise and you could be asleep in 60 seconds!

For the “4-7-8 Method”, follow these easy steps:

1) Lie in bed on your back, legs out-stretched and arms by your sides.

2) Close eyes gently & relax.

3) Take a deep breath in, and let out slowly with a “whooshing” sound.

3) Take a another deep breath in, filling your lungs, to a count of 4.

4) Hold your breath while you count to 7.

5) Release your breath with a “whooshing” sound to a count of 8.

6) Repeat 3 more times, from step 3-5.

7) Sleep peacefully! Zzzzzzzz