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Sleep Enhancing Tips

Sleep is a necessity. Unfortunately, people seem to think that their body will adapt to little or no sleep and if necessary, they can make up for their sleep loss on the weekends. Sadly this is not the case. As previous mentioned in my Sleep is Not a Luxury article, good sleep is required for many important functions in the body. Lack of sleep can have a negative effect on the body, so now is the time to consider some sleep enhancing tips to help you to a good nights sleep every night.

Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite

Here are some sleep enhancing tips:

  • Establish a regular bedtime routine and a regular sleep-wake schedule. Avoid studying or working past 8pm in the evening. Good sleep quality is achieved by going to bed before 11pm so aim to be in bed by 10.30pm at the latest;

  • Avoid daytime naps of more than 1 hour as this can adversely affect dream sleep at night. Also avoid napping late in the afternoon (after 4pm);

  • Reduce or eliminate stimulants, i.e. caffeine, cola drinks, coffee and sugar;

  • Limit alcohol consumption as this can promote a disturbed sleeping pattern;

  • Create a dark sleeping environment;

  • Invest in a comfortable mattress and bedding and use natural fibres for sleep such as cotton and bamboo where possible;

  • Reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields such as mobile phones, tablets, computers and wireless networks at night while sleeping. If you need to use your mobile phone as an alarm clock, switch to flight mode;

  • Reduce screen time at night after dark as studies have found that the blue light from mobile phones, computers or television sets reduces levels of our sleep hormone melatonin. There are apps available for this such as f.lux or adjust your lighting settings on your mobile devices;

  • Get regular exercise as regular exercise and particularly activities like tai chi and yoga have been shown to improve insomnia and sleep quality. Aim to exercise at least 4 to 5 times weekly;

  • Increase daytime exposure to sunlight or full spectrum bright light in the morning to regulate your sleep cycle;

  • Find a meditation app that helps you relax, listening to relaxing music, practice meditation or deep breathing before bed. These are all useful for reducing stress hormones and increasing our sleep hormone melatonin;

  • Avoid overeating at night and try to refrain from eating at least two hours before going to bed;

  • Avoid drugs which reduce melatonin: Panadol, aspirin, alcohol, valium, caffeine, Prozac, ibuprofen, indomethacin, nicotine, propranolol, tobacco, Xanax. These should be consumed in the morning or early afternoon.

  • Grounding or earthing yourself by placing your feet on bare ground for a minimum 20 minutes per day can help to promote relaxing endorphins and promote good sleep. Grounding also has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body and may reduce or normalise blood pressure. Sleeping on a grounding sheet at night or using other grounding devices may also promote restful sleep.

Check out this infographic as a reminder of these sleep enhancing tips.

Sweet Dreams

A restful and restorative night’s sleep prepares you for the day ahead and also reduces our risk of developing chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and autoimmune conditions. Good sleep is also essential for a healthy immune system and to create a healthy mood and reduce anxiety and depression.

If you suffer from sleep problems it is important to identify the underlying causes of disturbed sleep, and find the appropriate solution to help you overcome your sleepless nights. Contact me if you need sleep enhancing tips or would like a personally designed plan for you to get a better nights sleep.