With all the travelling we’ve been doing recently, I’ve found it increasingly tough to get a good night’s rest and it really started to affect my overall wellbeing and alertness during the day. I knew I needed to change my lifestyle because what I was doing was simply not sustainable.
After researching I was able to draw the conclusion that I was dropping the ball in 5 main areas of my sleep habits. I’ve been applying these new habits for around a month now and already I feel so much better, and my daily productivity has shifted up a gear too.
1. STICK TO A SLEEP SCHEDULE
The key to achieving a restful sleep is to develop healthy sleeping habits. One of the most important habits is to create a sleep schedule and most importantly – stick to it. This means waking up and going to bed at the same time, every day. By sticking to a regular routine, your body will recognise this schedule and naturally adjust its internal clock to this sleep-wake rhythm. When setting your sleep routine, consider how much sleep your body needs to perform its best. Also, try to avoid sleeping in and indulging in long afternoon naps to help you get to bed on time.
2. CREATE A COMFORTABLE AND RELAXING SLEEP SPACE
For the perfect sleeping environment, your sleep space should be a relaxing and comfortable one. Try to minimise clutter and avoid doing stressful tasks – such as working and studying – on your bed. This will help your mind to associate your bed as a place to wind down and recharge. While sleeping, make sure your room is cool, completely dark and free of distracting noises. This will create the perfect space for you to switch off at the end of each day.
3. INVEST IN A GOOD MATTRESS
We spend a decent portion of each day sleeping, so it is essential that you have a comfortable mattress and pillow that supports your body throughout the night. If you’re waking up every morning with an aching back or sore neck, then you should re-evaluate your sleeping posture and set-up. Having gone through numerous cheap mattresses, Kane and I have decided to become real adults and invested in a brand new mattress from Sealy Posturepedic’s Exquisite range. It supports our bodies perfectly even though we are different weights, so no more ‘rolling into the middle’. In the last month, I’m now having deeper sleeps than ever.
4. AVOID ELECTRONICS AND CONSUMING STIMULANTS BEFORE BED
This was a tough one for me. Working with social media meant that I would often get into bed, and carry on replying to emails, or doing things on Instagram long after my bed time, even though I was technically ‘in bed’. To prevent a night full of tossing and turning, there are a few things to avoid as your bedtime draws near. Avoid using electronics such as the TV, your phone and computer for at least an hour before bed since the bright light confuses our body’s ability to recognise the day-night cycle. Also, try not to go to bed on a full or empty stomach as these can create discomfort throughout the night. And, avoid taking stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol as it gets close to bedtime as these can disrupt your sleep and cause you to be restless.
5. ESTABLISH A PRE-BED ROUTINE
By establishing a regular night time ritual, you are able to tell your body when it’s time to start switching off and prepare for a restful sleep. These can be as simple as taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, listening to relaxing music or yoga. For something a little more therapeutic, bring out your aroma diffuser and play around with calming essential oils like lavender, roman chamomile or lemongrass to help you wind down. You can pour a few drops on your pillow, in your bath or even add it to your moisturiser to help you sleep better.