We are living in the middle of a sleep deprivation epidemic. Scientists from Oxford University claim that we are sleeping about 1-2 hours less than we were sixty years ago. In the context of an eight hour sleep cycle, we may have lost up to 25% of our sleep! I find this remarkable, especially when you consider how important sleep is to our health.
A lack of sleep is associated with all kinds of negative health consequences including increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. In my experience, the majority of people who struggle with their sleep are unconsciously doing something in their everyday life that is negatively impacting their ability to sleep at night.
The majority of people who struggle with their sleep are unconsciously doing something in their everyday life that is negatively impacting their ability to sleep at night.
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In this post, I share 4 tips that will positively impact the quality of your sleep:
1. No tech 90 – 90 minutes before bed, try and switch off all modern technology: tablets, phones and laptops. This reduces the amount of mental and emotional stimulation which often keeps us awake. In addition, the blue-light that comes out of these devices can actually reduce levels of a hormone called melatonin, which is something that we need to help us drop into deep, relaxing sleep. I have seen this tip alone transform the sleep of many clients.
2. Embrace morning light – you might not have considered this, but going outside in the morning and exposing yourself to natural light actually helps you sleep better in the evening. It does this by helping you set your body’s daily circadian rhythm.
3. Caffeine before noon – Many of us love a cup of tea or coffee, and I’m no exception, but for many of us, caffeine after 12pm can negatively impact our sleep. There is considerable genetic variation in terms of how each of us metabolises caffeine. Many of us can take several hours to fully process the caffeine so it is always worth giving this tip a try to see the impact on your sleep. I have many clients who swear to me that caffeine is not a problem for them until I convince them to try this suggestion. More times than not, their sleep quality improves immediately. Think caffeine is not affecting your sleep? Why not give this tip a go and let me know how you get on!
4. Create a routine – it’s not just kids that need a routine! With the hectic lifestyles that most of us now lead, adults benefit from a bed-time routine just as much s kids. Many of us expect to be able to finish off our work e-mails and then immediately go to bed and drop off instantly – this is unrealistic for the majority of us! Taking a relaxing bath, dimming lights or reading a book will all you to get your body prepared so that it can drift off into relaxing and restorative sleep.
I challenge you to try some of these tips today and find out what works for you. If you want to find out more, you can know more sleep tips in my self-paced therapy program.
The great news is that a better nights sleep will also help you to eat smart, relax more and move better.