As it’s the new year I bet you want to smash those New Year resolutions or just existing goals that will improve your 2023! When you want to be productive, energised and healthy there is one thing in common that helps you tackle all of these… sleep! If you don’t get a good night’s sleep you are more likely to start craving unhealthy food and stack up on that caffeine (see my previous post why I stopped drinking coffee). What’s worse, lack of sleep has been linked to a whole series of symptoms, one of which can be brain fog. This can severely impact productivity… not great when we’re trying to tick off a new healthy habit!
Why don’t we get enough sleep?
The most common reason we don’t sleep enough is simple. Our lifestyle factors and sleep hygiene need work! It really is a vicious cycle. If you have unhealthy habits in your day that affect your sleep, then you’ll most likely end up doing the same things the next day because you didn’t have a good sleep!!!
Just remember, sleep is one of the most important factors in your life that can help you keep your brain active and healthy! There is research to link lack of sleep to obesity, diabetes and heart and blood vessel diseases. Adults need 6-10 hours of sleep a night. Personally, around the 8 hours mark is what I need in order to feel refreshed and ready for the day.
How can I get more sleep?
As I’ve mentioned above, simple changes in your daily routine can massively improve your sleep quality/ quantity for most people. Here are some of the changes I made in my own routine which have improved my sleep:
- Turn off your phone an hour before you sleep – this helps you stop the scroll. Find something else you can do. This can be chatting with housemates/family/partners or reading a book. The blue screen before bed is a no-no!
- Have a diffusor or dimmed lighting (candles are great) – nothing loud or distracting. You need a relaxing environment to get you in the zone of sleeping.
- Listen to a guided meditation – this honestly is one of the best things I did to stop me from overthinking before bed! It does take time, but when you’re focusing on the voice of the meditation (instead of your own thoughts) it really relaxes you and helps your brain drift off to sleep.
- Set up clothes/anything that you need in the morning – this helps you to not stress about what you need to do the next morning before bed because it’s already prepared.
- If you can, go to bed at the same time every night – ever noticed that you automatically wake up on your day off at the same time you would normally set your alarm for work? This is because our brains have their own body clock inside. Our Circadian rhythms. Our brains love routine, so going to bed at the same time on a regular basis will train your brain to go to sleep.
- Don’t drink coffee after 2pm – if you notice you are still wired at night after having a coffee in the afternoon it’s time to switch to decaf! I had caffeinated tea around 5pm a couple of days ago… let’s just say it took me over 2 hours to get to sleep.
It’s easy for me to say this now because I’ve spent so long trying to perfect what helps me get to sleep. So it might be a work in progress for you. You might only be able to do one of those things on the list right now, and that’s ok. If you achieve one of these things then you’ve made a start and you’re on the right track. And hey! If you’re lucky you might only need that one improvement to fix your routine. So please don’t be hard on yourself, everyone is different and everyone has different lifestyles. The key is to figure out what works best for you.
If you feel like there are more issues going on than finding the right sleep routine for you, I always recommend you see your GP for more information.
Have a great week and sleep tight!