‘Eat, Sleep, Create, Repeat’
We are one month in to 2021, and with no end of lockdown 3.0 in sight it’s fair to say that we all need to sleep easy. Sleepy winter is nearly over, Spring is on its way; a time for an awakening it almost seems.
We have all created new goals to be more active and healthier in 2021 and now we need self care more than ever. So I ask you, is calm the key to sleep?
When we sleep, our heart rate slows when we are calm, and ultimately our brain follows. This is how we fall to sleep. Try laying down on the floor in your comfort space for 10 minutes anytime. Feel your body just relax in to the contentment of relaxation. Going against the ‘natural flow’ where life or our choices lead to imbalance and affect our energy. Make time to work on your self care.
Many myths surround how to get the ‘perfect’ night’s sleep: Always go to bed at a set time, cheese before bed gives you nightmares, you need 7-8 hours of sleep per night, a class or two of wine in the evening will make you sleep better? When was life ever that simple and easy to do? Is it as simple as changing your daily or nightly routine? I think the key is to make your bedroom a place for just two things.
There are so many pressures at the minute, so many things to worry about or the uncertainties that lie ahead. There is no right or wrong for sleep, it is what works best for you. You’re doing your best!
Exercise earlier in the day or first thing in the morning. The adrenalin you feel after exercise or training in the evening could slow the pace of relaxation down and mean your body is still on the high of intense training. Are you a morning person already? The idea of a new day would leave you feeling positive to start the day well ensuring that you’ll relax easy in the evening.
Is there such a thing as consistency? Sometimes there is no such thing.
Do you work on a night shift?
You’ll find that you’re always waiting for an alarm and could possibly find it hard to unwind.
Are you a new parent? Your children learn the routine of sleep over time, but somehow you don’t feel able to rest. Therefore breaking the pattern of sleep through stress.
Another myth is the people see sleep as two different things – A luxury or a necessity? We all need sleep but everyone has a different quality. Are you a naturally light sleeper? Have you had broken sleep?
Do you need to recharge? Are you finding that you are tired more than usual? Maybe speak to your GP about triggers that affect your mood or factors that affect why you don’t feel as rested. Are you going to bed too early? Go to bed only when you know you are ready for sleep. Try not to nap.
Do you suffer from PTSD? Sounds outside through the night may trigger moments of unrest. If you find that podcasts or music help then make sure you do what is right to calm yourself. Rest is important but don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad night’s sleep. No pressure – only goals.
All we need to do is make some simple small changes to our lifestyle in order to do our best to get the right rest. A lack of sleep or rest leads to focus slightly off for the rest of the day. We need this focus to concentrate on tasks in hand, or to make decisions. Sleep is important and be mindful so that it doesn’t make a massive impact on your daily activities.
Diet can also be a major factor to help with sleep. Cheese hasn’t been proven to give you nightmares but if you find that you’re eating late at night; food settling on your stomach, it’s not going to bode well for a great night’s sleep. Try not eating 2 hours before bed giving your body time to digest food. I understand this is hard for those who work on a shift pattern, but just try to make small changes in diet whilst at work.
I know it’s easy to grab for the comfort food but try something filling before the start of your shift to set you up for the day.
Most people choose to settle down in bed with a tea or coffee before bed. Infact many diners choose to have a coffee at the end of an evening meal, and they see this as a way or relaxation as well as a great addition to the meal. Caffeine before bed can be construed as a myth but i think it depends on how much your daily intake is. Just monitor this if you decide to write a bedtime log. High amounts of caffeine may affect your body clock.
My personal opinion is no social media in bed or anything that could keep your mind active. Leave your phone downstairs or in another part of your room away from arms length. The break away from phone could be the simple thing that helps regulate your body’s natural sleep cycle. Screen time tends to disrupt this due to the blue light they emit. Keep off social media out of working hours. Don’t be tempted to catch up on the latest news when you wake up too. The new post waiting for you to read it will still be there when you have stirred and made a start on your day, give your brain time to wake up too. We are all so used to instant information, learn to relax.
My top tips for sleep success are: Keep a bedtime diary or log. This should help you keep a track on how well you’re doing and to also find out what is helping you to rest. The bedroom should be a place you enjoy spending time in. The bed and the bedroom should be 2 things – sleep and “you know what time it is”. Don’t forget those fresh sheets and make your boudoir beautiful and a place to relax in. The temperature for a good night sleep shouldn’t be too hot or too cold. Try setting the thermostat at around 18 degrees to promote good sleep.
Is your pillow the right shape for you? Ensure you have the right one for your body and softness.
There are so many options out there so always read the label!
How dark is your bedroom? Consider blackout curtains or even invest in an eye mask.
And remember – catch up on those Zzzz’s when you can.