In our last article we discussed the benefits to getting a great night’s sleep, but with hectic schedules, pressures at work and busy family lives few of us every actually achieve the elusive eight hours that is recommended. Our bodies require a minimum of 5-7 solid hours sleep a night in order to restore and repair ready for the next day, and lack of sleep is widely considered to be the cause for numerous health issues. If the land of nod is proving tricky to find, read on to discover the top tips to achieving a super sleep.
Everyone has their own natural body clock, some are early risers who like to be up and out, whereas others are night owls who like to stay up late. There is no right or wrong here as your natural sleep-wake cycle known as your circadian rhythm will dictate what works best for you. The important thing is that once you have established your rhythm that you stick to it. If you need 7 hours sleep a day then try to make sure you go to bed and wake up the same time every day rather than switching between late nights and early mornings. An established routine is key to a good nights sleep, so tick to a regular bedtime and set an alarm for the following day so that you wake up the same time each day.
If you have a disturbed nights sleep, try not to sleep too much during the day to compensate for your lost hours as this will massively affect your natural sleeping pattern. Instead take a power nap for no more than thirty minutes to recharge your batteries and keep you going for the rest of the day without adversely affecting your night time sleep. Avoid falling asleep in the post dinner lull, get up and walk about, do some chores or call a friend to keep you alert and prevent any early evening snoozes affecting your night time sleep later on.
Monitor Your Melatonin
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by exposure to natural light exposure that helps the body to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Your brain is designed to secrete more in the evening when it is darker to make you feel sleepy and less during the day when you are awake. The pressures and demands of 21st century life can massively affect the production of melatonin, which then affects your sleep cycle, so be careful how long you spend away from natural light. Avoid spending a whole day indoors as the darker unnatural light can cause increase melatonin which makes you feel more drowsy, get out in the fresh air for a walk when you can and try to work next to a window to make the most of the sunlight. On the flip side, you want to try and promote melatonin production during the evening so use blackout curtains and dim bulbs to create a relaxing peaceful atmosphere in which to sleep.
Temperature and noise will affect your sleeping success so try and keep music or talk to a minimum and avoid watching TV in bed. If necessary use ear plugs to block out any noise that is beyond your control and maintain a cool bedroom at around 18 degrees with good ventilation. Don’t work in your bed, reserve your boudoir as a place for sleep and this way, you are less likely to start thinking shop while you lay in bed trying to drift off.