Today’s world, for many, is a little hectic. Demanding jobs, growing families and social commitments tend to eat into our dedicated sleeping time – something we’re too readily willing to give up.
‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’ they say, but in reality, a lack of sleep has a negative effect on how well we’re able to live. Sleep holds healing, restorative benefits, and as I learnt from Dr Nerina Ramlakhan at the Stylist Live event this weekend, it really does matter.
I attended her talk ‘How to sleep like a baby’ on Friday and learnt a little more about how and why we should be improving our precious bedtime.When you sleep better, you feel better, and feeling better will undoubtedly help you to perform better in your professional life. It makes sense to get a head start, with the best possible sleep to fuel the best possible you.
Eat breakfast within 30 minutes of rising. Get that melatonin going as soon as you can, so that when bedtime does come around, your body is ready to cooperate.
Stop checking the clock. When you wake in the night, trust that it isn’t time to get up and go back to sleep. Checking the time triggers you to make calculations about how long you have left, waking up your brain an disrupting your night’s sleep even further.
Impose an early electronic sundown. Undoubtedly the trickiest one. We should be putting our iPhones and iPads to bed at least an hour before ourselves. We all know the reasons why, so why not give it a real go.
Get to sleep before midnight. Important things happen to your body in those last few hours of the day. If you allow the sleep restorative process to get going before midnight, then it can get through more of the good stuff that it needs to before morning.
Listen for the white noise. For some people, silence is torture, so bedtime shouldn’t always be a total lockdown. White noise in the form of a fan, or another consistent tone, can help some minds to relax.
Watch your caffeine intake. Another that we know, but don’t always pay attention to. All you have to do is look at the effect that caffeine has on the body to get an idea of why it’s no friend to sleep.
Stay hydrated. It goes without saying, but is easily overlooked. Water works wonders so we should be finding the time for at least a little more of it.
Breathe mindfully. The Dalai Lama hails sleep as ‘the best meditation’ – who can argue with that? A few mindful breaths can soften us up and lead us right into the deepest level of relaxation.
Be thankful. We can prep our bodies as much as possible for slumber, but it’s no good if our mind is distressed. Dr Nerina suggests a simple, but effective exercise right before bed. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and think of everything from that day that you are thankful for. It’s easy once you get going, and the benefits are immediate.
You won’t become a better sleeper overnight. But put these tips to the test, and see how you go. For a little more help, take a look at Dr Nerina’s Huffington Post blog.