Most of us have heard the phrase ‘health equals wealth’, but between fitting in 60-minutes of exercise each day, sipping our way through 2 litres of water, eating a nutritionally balanced diet, and ticking the recommended sleep box, it’s easy to see that often, somethings got to give.
While all aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle are important, the power of a good night’s rest is often pushed down the priority list. And thanks to hustle culture – it’s even sometimes glamourised through sleep procrastination. However, sleep has been proven to do so much more than leave you feeling well-rested, more alert, more productive, and even free from under-eye bags. It allows your body time to rest, digest and repair. And not giving your body enough time to complete these critical tasks can lead to problems related to your mood, immunity, susceptibility to diabetes, weight gain, and even increase your risk of heart disease.
So, now that you’re awakened to the significance of a good night’s sleep, how can you catch those sometimes-elusive Zzzs? Here we share 8 tips to get you sleep-ready.
Tip 1: Clock off from work!
Mobile devices have meant the day’s work is no longer done when you clock off from the office, and a prevalence of working from home (for better or worse) has blurred the lines between work and home lives. It’s often difficult to create boundaries, but shutting off for the day is crucial to creating space and time to wind down. Keeping your head in work mode can often impact your ability to get a refreshing night’s rest and will impact your productivity the following day.
Put it in practice: Get strict about disabling notifications – most devices have a ‘do not disturb’ setting that can be applied to apps, and we’d all benefit from sliding that one on the moment we leave the office.
Tip 2: Step away from screens
Switching off from work is one thing, but trading it for endless social media scrolling, relaxing in front of Netflix or catching up on life admin on your laptop can be just as damaging to a good night’s slumber. And that’s mostly down to blue light.
Blue light is a type of visible light on the electromagnetic spectrum that can interrupt your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle (which forms an integral part of your circadian rhythm). It does this by suppressing the production of the sleep hormone melatonin and mimicking the sun’s light – tricking our bodies into thinking it’s go time!
Put it into practice: Step away from all devices or screens at least one hour before bedtime. This will give your body time to settle into its natural circadian rhythm, which is essential not only for getting and staying asleep but also allows your body to perform nighttime functions like digestion, the release of hormones and regulating our body temperature.
Tip 3: Download for the day ahead
There’s nothing worse than lying in bed thinking of everything you need to do the following day, freewheeling through an endless mental checklist when you should be sleeping. In the wise words of Winston Churchill, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” And by adding a little bit of planning into your pre-bedtime routine, you’ll pour out any stress or anxiety and only have a productive day ahead to look forward to – which means a better chance of great sleep!
Getting organised for the day ahead could include laying out your outfit, getting lunch and snacks sorted and setting out everything you need for a smooth morning.
Put it into practice: Keep a journal bed side and make the practice of creating an agenda or to-do list a pre-bedtime non-negotiable. You’ll quickly begin to look forward to this routine that leaves your mind sleep ready.
Tip 4: Pause for a moment and take in the highlights
After you’ve prepared for the day ahead and cleared your mind of to-do lists, take some time for self-reflection, positive affirmations, and gratitude. Harvard University research has proven that those who practice gratitude generally feel more positive, can deal with adversity, are generally happier, relish good experiences, and improve their overall health. Affirmations also increase positivity, health and happiness and can be as simple as a few words or sentences that help quash negative thoughts and boost your self-esteem.
Ending your day with a positive mindset sets you up for a good night’s sleep and will help start you off on the right foot for the following day.
Put it into practice: Journalling is an easy way to end your day with gratitude, affirmations, and self-reflection. Write down a couple of great things (big or small) that you achieved and any actions you are proud of.
Tip 5: Warm up to wind down
Whether you take a warm bath or shower, settle in for a cup of sleepy-time tea or curl up on the couch with a lavender-scented wheat bag, there’s something about the cocooning feeling of being warm that helps send you off to the land of nod. Research has shown that taking a warm bath or shower one to two hours before bedtime improves sleep quality and helps you fall asleep faster.
Put it into practice: Science aside, having something like a cup of your favourite (caffeine-free) tea as part of your bedtime routine quickly becomes a ritual. Rituals like this help signal to your brain that it’s time to slow down and get set for sleep.
Tip 6: Read, but not electronically
Although it may not feel like it, reading is a physical activity…for your brain. And while it can be hugely stimulating and hard to put down a good book, it often acts as the perfect bridge between reality and sleep. The stresses of the day quickly melt away when you’re absorbed in someone else’s story, making it easier to skip any pre-sleep worries and instead skip straight on to restful sleep. Not only does reading assist in better sleep quality, but it also opens your brain to new ways of thinking and improved cognitive agility.
Put it into practice: Choose your bedtime story wisely – an addictive page-turner can keep you awake! It’s best to avoid actions and thrillers and instead choose an easy read with a mellow plot.
Tip 7: Keep it consistent
Like most things in life, consistency is key when establishing a solid bedtime routine. Experts recommend that adults aim for between seven and nine hours of quality sleep a night to experience the full health and wellbeing benefits of optimal sleep. It’s also widely agreed that sticking to a similar sleep and awake schedule every day of the week (yes, even on the weekends) can help you sleep better at night and ensure your body is operating most efficiently.
Put it into practice: Many phones have an option that allows you to set a sleep schedule, and some even notify you when it’s time to start winding down. Give it a try for a month and see how you feel!
Tip 8: Check that your bedroom isn’t letting you down
A messy, cluttered room isn’t an inviting space to rest your weary head, and neither is a home office set up in the corner. To prep your bedroom for optimal sleep, give it a good spring clean, invest in some quality sheets, make sure you have comfortable heating or cooling in place and add some retreat-like touches – cosy throws, candles, soft lighting and cushions. The aim is to transform your bedroom into an inviting sanctuary that’s hard to resist at day’s end. And if you’re looking to breathe new life into your space, get inspired with our styling tips.
Put it into practice: Banish the enticing glow of your mobile phone from the bedroom and instead invite complete darkness. If that’s not possible, lighting in warm hues like red, orange or yellow won’t interrupt your circadian rhythm and might even help you drift off.
Getting your 40 winks but still need more?
If improving your overall health requires more than changing your bedtime routine, decluttering, or re-styling your bedroom, and you feel it’s time for a lifestyle change, call your local First National Real Estate office. We can help you find the perfect spot to rest your head.