Improve your sleep and get quality shuteye!

A good nights sleep is as important for your body as exercise and a healthy diet. Sleeping well directly affects your mental and physical health.

Lots of studies have shown the link between obesity and lack of sleep. Research show's a trend towards shorter sleeping patterns for both adults and children’s increases the risk of diabetes and obesity.

If unhealthy daytime habits are keeping you awake at night, then here’s some fascinating facts on how to gain a better night’s sleep.

 
  • Substantial Sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. This improves daytime energy, as well as sleep quality and duration. A study in older adults found that two hours of bright light exposure during the day increased the amount of sleep by two hours and sleep efficiency by 86%. If obtaining natural light is not practical —you could invest in an artificial bright-light device.

  • Bad blue light exposure- exposure to blue light during the day, studies have shown decreases the production of melatonin that is required in order to get a good night’s sleep. You could try downloading an app such as flux for your phone which takes off the blue light. Blue light makes you believe that it’s daylight and should be avoided for a good night’s sleep.

  • Cut down caffeine consumption- caffeine is a stimulant for the nervous system and therefore studies have shown drinking coffee late at night will keep you awake. It is best to avoid drinking coffee at least six hours before bedtime. You could always try decaffeinated coffee in the afternoon as an alternative.

  • Stick to a sleep routine- irregular sleep patterns have been shown to negatively affect your level of melatonin and your circadian rhythm leading to a poor night’s sleep. Remember at the weekends to try to keep to your normal wake-up time if you’ve had a late-night it’s better to opt for a nap rather than sleep in as this will disturb your natural rhythm.

  • Keep exercising-those who exercise on a regular basis feel less sleepy during the day. Regular exercise even light exercise (10 minutes) or more will improve your sleep quality. However, intense exercise before bed-time will keep you awake, this is because exercise stimulates hormones such as cortisol and leads to an increase in body temperature.

  • More Melatonin- you can buy melatonin supplements, studies have shown by taking a supplement of 2 mg can increase your sleep quality and morning alertness with no negative effects, this should be taken approximately an hour before bed. Melatonin is a natural occurring hormone released by the pineal gland which regulates the body’s circadian rhythm. Also, try adding lavender to your pillow this amazing herb can provide a calming effect and improve sleep.

  • De-stress your mind- over-stimulation of your brain during the day will make it increasingly harder to wind down at night. Constantly checking your phone, email or social media may keep your brain stimulated, continuing these daytime habits will keep you restless during the night may cause heartburn or indigestion will promote sleep. You could try some mindfulness, deep breathing exercises before bed or a body scan-focusing your mind on each part of your body, starting from your toes until you reach the top of your head. Body Scanning is a great visualisation strategy that aids relaxation.

  • Eat early dinners- try to avoid eating late at night particularly heavy or spicy dinners that may cause heartburn or indigestion and keep you awake. If you enjoy a light snack before bed try a yoghurt, banana or low sugar wholegrain cereal.

  • A cool, comfortable, quiet bedroom- having adequate ventilation and a bedroom that is cool around 20°C (70F) promotes good quality sleep. Try using an eye mask to keep the room dark these are one of the best tools to obtain a restful night’s sleep. It is recommended to change your mattress every 5 to 10 years, backaches from poor quality mattresses will ultimately have an impact on your sleep quality.

  • Relax in the bath or take a shower- either of these suggestions may help you to relax more. Studies have shown even foot bathing can help skin temperature reduce resulting in a better night’s sleep

 

  • Recommended hours of sleepAnd finally, an adult’s recommended sleep is between 7-9 hours per night.

Make sleep your top priority to achieve your ideal well-being -Sweet dreams!