We are wired for routine, and sleep works best when we surround it with supportive habits. During this season of daily routine disruption we have an opportunity to establish new routines that can support our health & wellness into the future.
Nearly all adults need 7-9hrs sleep to function optimally. We need to build our day around these hours, and make it a priority habit.
• A good nights sleep starts when we wake up. Rising at the same time each day helps establish routine & sets us up to sleep well the following night.
• Get into the sunshine as soon as possible after waking. Bright light tells our body it is awake time, so turn on lights, get into the sun, and use this throughout the day to keep your body going.
• Eat nutritious meals at regular times. Again our bodies love routine. Eating at consistent times helps to trigger our body clock to follow a pattern.
• Exercise every day. Exercise has so many benefits outside of maintaining fitness. Our mental health is better when we move, and sleep patterns will be easier.
• Drink plenty of water during the day.
• Avoid spending extended time in bed during the day, bedrooms are for sleeping & intimacy, not for work. (There are obvious exceptions to this at present times, but try and use different spaces in your bedroom for work if you don’t have another space in your home.)
As we approach evening it’s time to prepare our body for sleep:
• Avoid eating after your evening meal (2-3hours before bed) and reduce your fluid intake.
• Turn off bright lights and stop using screens 1-2 hours before bed. At the very least turn on night-mode on your phone. Keep devices out of your bedroom. The blue light from LED lights, devices, and screens, stops our body producing melatonin, our sleep hormone, telling us to stay awake.
• Relax for an hour before bed. Read a book, meditate, do some colouring in, stretch, breathe. Spend time allowing your brain to calm and unwind from stress.
• Create a calm space to sleep in. Close curtains, use blackouts if you can, cool the room, use candles, calming music, essential oils.
• Eye masks & earplugs are helpful if you can’t remove all noise and light from your room.
• Go to bed at the same time each night. Listen to your body and follow the waves of sleepiness as they come. The more consistency you build the more you will recognise these patterns.
• If you’re struggling to fall asleep get up and go to another dimly lit room. Read, meditate, unwind until you feel the next wave of tiredness come.
If you’re still struggling falling asleep whilst building these routines it might be time to have a talk with a professional.
Helping people to learn how to have excellent quality sleep is one of our greatest joys.