Sleep, that pesky little thing that we’re all trying to get more of. We hear it over and over that a good night’s sleep is the key to great skin, healthy digestion, better brain function and even weight loss. What’s frustrating, is that you can be doing everything right to try to get more sleep, and it just doesn’t happen.
So, what can you do? Change your perspective!
Instead of trying to get more sleep, you should be trying to get a better sleep.
“To start with, we need to understand sleep quality,” says Dr Carmel Harrington, A.H. Beard’s sleep expert with a PHD in Sleep Medicine. “Getting good quality sleep means that you’re waking in the morning feeling refreshed and fully rested. Often this indicates that you have little, or no, trouble falling asleep (generally within 20 minutes) and that you don’t constantly wake up during the night finding it difficult to get back to sleep.”
If that doesn’t sound like you, even though you’ve spent your eight hours under the covers, it’s a good sign that you aren’t achieving the quality of sleep your body needs to live a healthy, high performance life.
Luckily, there are a few key things you can do to improve your sleep quality and it’s not overly complicated.
It starts with understanding your sleep habits.
Tracking your sleeping patterns helps you make informed decisions when it comes to adjusting your routine, or even if you need to invest in a new mattress that’s better suited to your needs. Our smart phones are fantastic tools and you can use things like the RESTON Sleep Tracker that you attach to your mattress. “Each day it delivers a comprehensive overview of your sleep habits including body movement, heart rate and sleep cycle to your smart phone along with helpful personalised sleep tips,” says Dr Harrington.
Next, clear your mind.
We’re all too familiar with the thoughts of the day and what’s on tomorrow racing through our minds the second our head hits the pillow so it’s important to try to switch off before you even get near your bed.
“Stop the stresses of the day from disturbing your sleep by taking a hot bath or shower before going to bed. You could also try meditation or yoga,” advises Dr Harrington. “Reading is also a fantastic method of relaxation. If you repeat these activities daily they will settle your mind and you’ll find that your body conditions itself for sleep.”
Then, make your room the ideal sleep environment.
Things like lighting, sound and temperature in your environment all have an effect on your sleep so innovative sleep technology like the Nox Smart Sleep Light is something Dr Harrington recommends.
“It’s a fantastic little device that plays soothing music and gives appropriate lighting for both when you fall asleep and wake up, helping you do so naturally. It also monitors the temperature, light, humidity and noise in room.”
Using these insights, you can try things like installing block out blinds to limit outside light, using ear plugs and playing around with the temperature to see what suits you best.
Also, use fragrance to enhance relaxation.
Dr Harrington advises, “Try lighting a fragrant candle as not only has candle light been shown to increase the amount of serotonin (our feel-good hormone) but certain fragrances like lavender have been shown to shown enhance relaxation.”
A pillow mist such as The Body Shop French Lavender Pillow Mist creates a great ritual. Infused with lavender essential oil from Provence, France, the light and peaceful scent helps to relax your mind and your muscles.
Maison 21 G have also released a range of 100% natural home fragrance mists that are carefully crafted to enhance your environment. The SLEEP fragrance contains lavender and tonka that are very soothing and RELAX blends neroli and rose to help you create the ultimate comfort zone.
Finally, think about creating a night time routine.
“Create and maintain a calming bedtime routine that you repeat every night,” advises Dr Harrington. “This will teach your brain to begin relaxing once the routine starts each night. You should also remove any stimulants that may disrupt your sleep, so ensure your room is tidy, and turn off all electronics an hour before you go to bed.”
An example night time routine could be…
1. Dim the lights around your home at the same time each evening, preferably a few hours before you intend on going to bed.
2. Limit screen time in the last hour before going to bed to reduce the amount of blue light and distraction you’re exposed to.
3. Choose a book or activity that is calming and helps you to relax.
4. Try sleep supplements such as The Beauty Chef Sleep powder that delivers herbs and spices to promote a restful sleep. Sipping on a hot mug every night can also help to tell your brain it’s time to switch off.
5. Change into a pair of proper pyjamas that you wear every night.
6. Infuse calming scents into your routine.
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