Whilst some people slip into a sound sleep like a contented baby, others find it a battle ground of mind and body vs the rest they need. Not to mention the impact of the pandemic which may also be to blame for disrupted sleep routines due to the change in habits, alongside the anxiety that it brings for so many. If this sounds like you, now is a great time to re-think, re-set and re-start your sleep habits with a Health Plan.
RE-THINK your sleep routines
Your body is amazing! It just keeps on going, day after day. It’s screaming out for restoration. It needs sleep. Our body relies on our deep sleep-state down time, on the 24-hour nature-dictated light and dark cycle to signal to our brains and bodies that it’s time to rest.
It’s hardly surprising then, that sleep deprivation compromises many areas of health; concentration, hormonal systems, growth and development, and, truthfully, our ability to function at our best.
Ready to RE-SET and RE-START your good sleep goals?
Jayney Goddard, author of “Rewind Your Body Clock” and expert adviser to www.healthydoesit.org shares her seven steps to really great sleep:
1.Leave your tech downstairs
Research shows us that late night social media, TV, catching up on news etc. interferes with our natural melatonin signals to the brain to prepare for sleep. Wean yourself off the need to grab your tech. Try reading a book or having a bath instead.
2.Banish the blue light
This tricks the body into thinking that it’s daytime, which isn’t going to get you off to sleep in a hurry. Use blue-light filters on screens and consider blue-light filtering glasses that counter its effects.
3.Air your anxieties
If your brain is buzzing, get it all out; call a friend (but no later than an hour or so before bedtime) or speak to a flatmate, partner to air any concerns or anxious thoughts If you’re still worried, anxious or thinking sleep-stopping thoughts, find inspiration from quotes such as ‘there’s always tomorrow’, ‘all hard times come to an end’. Cut yourself some slack.
4.Try bedtime journaling
If you’re finding it hard to sleep at night, write down all the things that you feel might be influencing that in a diary; hungry, over-eating too close to bedtime, bored, too noisy, too much to do. All of these things are very real sleep inhibitors. However, there are positive steps that you can take to improve things; eating complex carbohydrate-rich foods, not eating too much at night, not drinking alcohol which might affect sleep, listening to some calming music, reading a book. If you choose to see a complementary medical or natural health care practitioner, they’d find all this information extremely useful and it will also help you to discover ways in which you can help yourself towards better sleep.
5. Get comfy
Not too hot, not too cold. It’s amazing how many people struggle with comfortable body temperature, and add hot flushes or health conditions that upset temperature (or a partner that likes a different temperature to you) and it’s a sleep-stealing nightmare. Use a different tog duvet, wear cool cotton nightwear, or none at all. It’s OK to make changes to suit your own needs. That goes for sleep times too. If you need it dark, say you need it dark. Keep the bedroom for sleep. The only electricity you want in there is the good-loving kind <wink!>
6. Get timing and planning!
If you’re in and out of bed all night needing to visit the bathroom, then it’s worth looking into why that might be. As we age, bladder control can become weaker, and men can develop an enlarged prostate which can press on the bladder which necessitates more frequent bathroom visits. After the menopause, women often experience increased urinary urging. Get timing and get planning! You can work out how to manage this by drinking a litre of water, and then measuring how much urine you need to pass in the following four hours. This will give you an indication of your ‘flow rate’. This way, you’ll be able to better judge how you need to restrict fluids at night-time to give you an uninterrupted night’s sleep. Please note though that it is vital that you don’t restrict fluids to the point that you become dehydrated. Your urine should be a pale straw colour. Any darker than that may indicate dehydration.
7. Stop the snoring…
There is nothing like it. We all want the earth to move from time to time, but seismic snoring is not funny, for either party. There is much that can be done to help with snoring; sleeping position, keeping a healthy weight, devices to be worn over the nose, and some really effective natural health remedies too. These include; valerian, passion flower (Passiflora) and hops, as well as essential oils to help calm and relax. A natural health practitioner will consider many aspects of your sleep pattern, diet and lifestyle, so it’s worthwhile taking the time to seek their professional help in setting some sleep goals.