Recently, sleep has had a status upgrade. No longer is it something we skip when we get a better offer – sleep is the best thing on offer. Deep, quality sleep boosts our immunity, improves our mood and memory and fires up our metabolism. It also helps to balance our hormones, gives us a surge in energy and slows down our rate of ageing.
On the other hand, sleep deprivation has been linked to a myriad of health issues including an increased risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, anxiety, depression and even increased mortality. Poor sleep can also disrupt hormone function, raise blood glucose levels, increase our appetite and disrupt our gut microbiome.
Despite these troubling facts however, deep, restful sleep remains out of reach for many of us. In fact, it’s estimated that at least one third of adults gets less than seven hours a night. With the stresses of modern life, screens and overcrowded social schedules leaving us wired, deep sleep can seem like a dream.
Here’s how to enjoy some serious shut-eye and reap the rewards of deep, restorative sleep…
Schedule your shut-eye.
Science says that most adults need between eight and nine hours sleep each night and women, need even more during menstruation. While it may seem silly to schedule your snooze time, the truth is, it’s all too easy to skip unless you carve out the time in your calendar. Confine catch-ups with friends to the weekends and if you have a heavy week at work ahead, ensure you’re getting to bed early in preparation. If you do have a late night, skip your early morning workout the next day and rest. Remember, consistency is key.
Create a sleep sanctuary.
Your sleep environment is also vital so keep your bedroom calm, quiet, dark and cool. Start by removing all sleep disruptors including televisions and electronic devices. And, invest in your sleep space. Install shutters or blackout curtains and splurge on some beautiful bed linen, a quality mattress and decent pillows that’ll make you want to linger for longer. A ceiling or pedestal fan will help to boost airflow, as will adding an indoor plant to your bedroom. Lastly, try to find a warm reading light or install a dimmer switch to help trigger melatonin production. Remember, your bedroom should be for three things only – reading, sex and sleep.
Exercise regularly – but not too close to bedtime.
Studies have shown that getting 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week improves sleep quality by 65 per cent. During the day, exercise also helps us feel awake, alert and productive. But increasing your heart rate, boosting blood flow to your brain and releasing endorphins close to bedtime is not the best preparation for deep sleep. If you like to move around in the evenings, choose gentle yoga or a short walk after dinner to help you unwind before bed.
Quieten your mind.
Before bed, it’s essential to switch gears inside your head from full speed to sleep mode. A guided meditation, gentle yoga sequence, a warm bath, curling up with a book or deep breathing exercises can all be useful tools in the quest for deep sleep. Developing a few evenings rituals can also help to set the stage for satisfying sleep. Enjoying a warm cup of SLEEP Inner Beauty Powder before bed can also help to ease feelings of restlessness and quieten your mind. Packed with natural sedatives, passionflower and lemon balm, simply stir through warm nut milk and sip gently.
Do you have any nighttime rituals? We’d love to hear from you!