Do you struggle with sleep? You are not alone! With everything going on in the world right now, it can be harder than ever to shut off your mind and get a good night's kip.
Sleep really is gold when it comes to keeping you well and feeling good, it has a greater impact on your wellbeing and happiness than pretty much anything else! Working on your sleep is a good place to start if you are trying to get yourself healthier as you are more likely to be motivated to exercise and eat better if you have slept well.
Here are 4 things to try to help:
1) A DARK AND COOL ROOM – try an eye mask. You naturally ‘wake up’ around every 90mins when you hit a lighter phase of sleep, but ideally, you will roll over and forget that it even happened. If your room is too light, or there is a stream of light through the curtains or a red alarm clock in your face, then you might be more likely to wake up and then...find it hard to go back to sleep! The ideal temperature for your room is also around 16-18 degrees, which is probably all good now, but be mindful of this as we head into spring and summer.
2) PHONE/CLOCK AWAY FROM YOUR BEDSIDE – if you are struggling to sleep or wake up in the middle of the night what do you do? Look at the time? Grab your phone to check what is going on in the world? If you wake up and it is 3am and you start to feel anxious, are you more or less likely to fall back to sleep do you think?! Yep... you guessed. Less. Looking at your phone won’t help either, the blue light it emits tells your brain to wake up and that it isn’t sleeping time.
3) EXPOSURE TO NATURAL LIGHT – Get outside, every day. You need to expose your eyes to natural light to remind your body you are not a bear and don’t need to be hibernating. Your body’s rhythms are primarily controlled by the exposure to light and dark, and as well as impacting on your sleep, it can make a big difference to your mood too.
Try and get outside and expose your eyes to natural light for AT LEAST 20mins a day (without sunglasses on), and if you are tired, go outside for a few mins rather than grabbing a coffee or sweet treat. Getting out in the morning is ideal as it isn't too bright and tells your body to wake up. Wear sunglasses when it is bright and glary of course so you don’t damage your eyes, but try not to grab them out of habit when it isn't that sunny!
Claire Turnbull, our Director, has found that using her Bosch e-bike as a form of transport has made a positive impact on her sleep – not only has it helped her keep active while getting where she needs to go, it is also an awesome opportunity to expose her eyes to light which she wouldn’t get through the glass in a car or bus. An e-bike is well worth looking into! If you need help finding the right e-bike for you, check this out.
4) GO DECAF – If you have a coffee/tea at 7am, at 7pm there is still a ¼ of the caffeine in your system. Too much caffeine circulating your system at night can compromise the QUALITY of your sleep (even if it doesn’t stop you going to sleep) - meaning you are unlikely to wake up feeling rested. It is suggested that we keep our caffeine intake to less than 400mg per day, and if you are pregnant, less than 200mg a day. The caffeine content of drinks varies wildly depending on the brew, the type of leaf, the bean, the process and so on, but roughly a single espresso has 145mg, a tsp of instant coffee has 80mg and a cup of tea has 50mg.
There are so many other things that help too – meditation before bed, avoiding screens too close to sleep time...to read more on sleep, check out this awesome article
Need help getting yourself in a good routine? Grab a copy of Claire Turnbull's planner here
Need personalised nutrition help? Head to see the team here at Mission Nutrition