10 Steps To A Good Night’s Sleep
As we approach World Sleep Day, you may be asking, why is sleep important? In this blog we are going to have a look at why sleep matters, how sleep affects mental health and some easy steps we can take to help us all sleep better.
For some people, there is a perception that not needing to sleep indicates that we are strong, successful, and dealing with stress. There are blogs which actively encourage people to spend less time in bed, and more time living. However, this approach could lead to sleep deprivation. To live well, the truth is we also need to sleep well.
Why is sleep important?
Too much time spent in bed may indeed be an indication that something is wrong. However, too little time in bed has been shown to be equally bad. In fact, one study found that the effect of too little sleep on a person’s ability to drive was as bad as several pints of beer! This is why sleep matters…. Don’t underestimate what sleep does to support the brain.
How sleep affects our mental health
Too little sleep has been shown to affect our mood, our ability to think, react and recall, as well as our ability to respond accurately and quickly. And, far from a lack of sleep being an indication of success and strength, research has proven that too little sleep plays a role in the development of problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension and is the leading cause of accidents.
On the other hand, getting help for our sleep problems, taking steps to help us sleep better and improving our sleep patterns has been shown to be vital in achieving career success, being creative, and for making clear and logical decisions.
There are many ways to help improve sleep, here are 10 tried and tested ways to help you sleep better.
1. DEVELOP A GOOD ROUTINE
When we are sleep training a baby, one of the most important things is the development of a good bedtime routine. This continues to be true for us as adults.
A helpful, relaxing bedtime routine, carried out every night, will help train the body and brain to expect sleep.
2. DOWNLOAD YOUR BRAIN BEFORE BED
Make a list of all the things running around in your brain before bed. Write your to-do list, and jot down little reminders – this will stop thoughts from running around your brain when you are trying to switch off and sleep.
3. SWITCH OFF THE SCREENS
Shining bright lights into our eyes in the form of phones, tablets and e-readers is thought to be one of the reasons why sleep disorders are on the increase.
Banning screens at bedtime helps to increase the brains production of our natural sleep chemicals.
4. KEEP OUT THE LIGHT
A darkened room is important to help improve sleep. This is because low levels of light help to increase the brain’s production of melatonin – one of our most important sleep chemicals.
5. GET A GOOD MATTRESS
It is always going to be much easier to get a better sleep on a comfortable mattress – rather than an old, lumpy, or sagging one!
6. DON’T KEEP GETTING UP
When we are lying down resting, the production of hormones such as adrenalin drop – which should help us to sleep better. Every time we stand up and move around adrenalin production increases, making sleep even harder to achieve.
Try and learn some relaxation techniques, or controlled breathing to calm the mind and relax the body.
7. TRY MEDITATION MUSIC AT BEDTIME
Meditation music, mindfulness or even a guided bedtime meditation (there are lots available across music streaming services), can help to promote the production of your brains relaxing alpha brain waves. This in turn can switch off an overactive brain, and help the body relax into sleep better.
8. CAREFUL WITH CAFFEINE
Most people would not dream of having an espresso before bed. However, I have met plenty of people who do not think twice about a cup of tea or even a glass of cola. I have even had clients who got up in the middle of the night and made a cup of tea to drink when they were struggling with insomnia!
The trouble is, whilst a warm drink can feel very comforting, tea does still contain quite a lot of caffeine. Caffeine decreases the production of melatonin – our important sleep chemical – so every cup of tea we have makes sleep deprivation and insomnia more likely.
9. TOP UP YOUR MAGNESIUM Magnesium supports the health of our body in many different ways, and is one mineral which many people could be low in. Taking extra Magnesium before bed may not directly affect sleep, but because it supports the nervous system, maintains healthy psychological function, and helps healthy muscle function, many people report benefits from topping up their magnesium levels.
10. TRY A NATURAL SLEEP AID
There are different herbs for sleep, but Valerian supplements are one of the best natural sleeping aids. Valerian root has been used by medical herbalists for thousands of years to help support sleep. Valerian supplements can be used for the relief of sleep disturbances due to the symptoms of mild anxiety, based on traditional use only.
Natures Aid Sleep Support Bundle, combines both Magnesium and Valerian products, so could be a good choice for anyone looking to take some of the steps outlined above.