6 Sleep Tips To Help You Catch Better Zs
Getting a good night’s rest isn’t a luxury – although new parents might argue otherwise! Sleep is part of the trifecta that keeps us ticking, along with eating well and staying active.
Lack of sleep can lead to all sorts of concerns, including weight gain, a weakened immune system, and depression. Hitting the hay for a solid eight hours is no indulgence; its benefits go way beyond not looking like a walking zombie.
If you’re not on the best terms with the sandman, you’re not alone. Dr Cris Beer, author of Healthy Habits, says one in three Aussies fail to consistently get a good night’s rest.
Tired of being a statistic (pun intended)? Follow these simple sleep tips and start getting some quality shut-eye.
Get in the right headspace
Do you ever feel like falling asleep is half the battle? There are many factors that can keep you awake (many of which we touch on here), and the more you toss and turn willing sleep to come to you, the further from reach it seems.
Meditation is one of the best sleep aids and all it will cost you is a little concentration! As soon as a thought pops into your head, acknowledge it and send it on its way.
Try slowly counting your breaths in squares: breathe in along the top of the square, hold along the right side of the square, exhale along the bottom, hold along the left side.
Cut down on caffeine
Most of us know not to have a coffee too close to bedtime, but you might be loading up on caffeine without even realising it.
If you’re partial to a cuppa or a little chocolate after dinner, be aware of the lurking perk-factor. Instead, try bedtime snacks like a little greek yoghurt with banana, some peanut butter on wholemeal toast, or a small bowl of wholegrain cereal, but make sure you…
Don’t dine too late
Digesting food requires energy, which doesn’t bode well with trying to get some shuteye. While late-night dining is a major culprit in sleep deprivation, alcohol is another major player in the ‘can’t sleep’ department.
While alcohol is a depressant, it becomes a stimulant when it burns off. Try to avoid a tipple at least three hours’ before crawling under the covers.
Set strict screen times
Our modern way of living is playing havoc with our natural sleep cycles. If you have a habit of snuggling up in bed with your smartphone or winding down watching Netflix, the light from the screen is sending your brain mixed signals.
Your body is naturally wired to start shutting down when it’s dark, so consider setting yourself a screen ban at least 30 minutes before you hit the hay. That goes for any work you’ve brought home too!
Boost your vitamins
Vitamins are one of the easiest natural sleep remedies to add to your bedtime ritual. Try magnesium for calming nerves and relaxing muscles (magnesium deficiency has been known to cause insomnia), or melatonin to aid your natural sleep/awake cycle. Calcium and Vitamin D are also popular sleep supplements.
Easy on the exercise
Much like eating too late, nighttime workouts can put your body in the wrong state for sleep. Give yourself a good couple of hours to allow your body temperature to cool down and your adrenaline levels to return to normal.
Make sure you keep well hydrated before and after you exercise to avoid stumbling into the kitchen for a big drink in the middle of the night!