How to Improve Sleep

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Having dedicated a significant amount of time to researching sleep over the past six months, I can still say this remains one of the most important parts of my own well-being. Unfortunately, many of us overlook the benefits sleep provides, often to their own detriment. Chronic wakefulness can take a toll on your well-being, while adequate sleep offers rejuvenation and vitality and improved brain function which will help you concentrate and remain focused.

If you’ve experienced a night of disrupted sleep, you will understand its impact the next day. Waking up feeling tired and unprepared to tackle the day is just the beginning. Overall, it can contribute to burnout and increase mental health issues.

Consider these nine tips to improve your sleep quality:

1: Get your sleep environment blacked out. Having light sources of any type in your bedroom can disrupt your sleep patterns. Even using an eye mask will not be 100 percent effective on most people. Your skin has sleep receptors that can pick up light. Your body will pick up the light signals and send messages to your brain to keep you awake.

2: Make sure your sleep environment is set up right. Your bedroom should be for sleep and yes wait for it, sex only. Fresh air flowing through your room will help incredibly with sleep, when breathing out carbon dioxide it can circulate around your room with nowhere to go. Do you sleep with the door closed to your bedroom? This is fine if you have the window open by one inch to allow the sir to circulate. Pets sleeping in the bedroom can also contribute to levels of carbon dioxide in the room. Did you know we can exhale as much as 2.3 pounds of carbon dioxide on an average day, imagine what you exhale on a night in bed.

Plant life is something that will allow you sleep in harmony, did you know some plants such as the perennial snake plant and the jasmine plant will also help decrease anxiety and help with improving your attitude when you wake up. Also, lavender & aloe vera will allow you to relax and allow your body to drift off to sleep. Scientists discovered that it would help you sleep and chill out those stress hormones with fewer awakenings in the night.

Did you know when your asleep you can still process sounds around you? Like when you experience hypnosis, your unconscious mind will still allow your brain waves to process information. My tip would be to have the sounds of running water like rain drops, I still listen to the soothing sounds of a babbling brook on my Alexa device to this day (A device you can switch off any lights as it’s playing). I’m usually asleep within 10 minutes.

3: Keep the room temperature cool. When it’s time for your body to rest, there is an automatic drop in your body’s temperature. When covered under your duvet, I would suggest the room temperature needs to between 15.5 degrees Celsius and 20 degrees Celsius for optimum sleep. Ideally try and keep it as close to 20 degrees Celsius as possible.

Try having a bath before bed, 1.5 hours to 2 hours before bed. It will allow your body temperature to drop to the temperature and you’ll feel cooler just around the right time for bed.

4: Schedule your sleep time. Timing your sleep is like investing in a business. It matters when you invest! I do know we all have busy lives but trust me this is necessary investment. The benefits of getting between 7 to 10 hours sleep per night are a sound investment. Research shows that between the hours of 22:00 pm to 02:00 am is when your recovery sleep is at is optimum. This will allow your body to strengthen, repair and rejuvenate your body.

5: Seek sunlight in the day. Since the cave man days, we have evolved with the pattern of light and darkness. This controls our sleep pattern (Circadian Rhythm). The sunlight signals your brain and organs to be alert and be awake. Too much artificial light will heavily impact your sleep on a night. I tend to be more conscious in winter when the days are short and get out for a walk as much as possible.

6: Don’t eat close to bedtime. Personally, I try to never eat after 20:00. The environment in your tummy is crucial for a good night’s sleep. Did you know 95 percent of your happy drug (Serotonin) is in your tummy. Allowing a 2-hour gap before sleep will allow you to have a good night’s sleep. This will allow food to digest and not disturb you getting to sleep and having a good night’s sleep.

7: Exercise as often as you can and not too late in the day. You can live longer with more lean muscle mass on your body. This doesn’t have to be at the gym 7 days a week. I would highly recommend getting out for a walk for 40 minutes a day and tone the muscle mass in your legs if the gym is not your thing, it’s not mine. Alternatively try some exercises at home and watch some Joe Wicks videos on you tube. I learned recently that nighttime exercising is not the right time to exercise. It can raise your core temperature and it can still stay raised between 4 – 6 hours. This will hinder your sleep and your Circadian Rhythm. Try to exercise where possible in the morning or day.

8: Get your SMART devices out of your bedroom. Did you know talking to your friends before bed can severely disrupt your sleep. It will take you longer to get to sleep and you may spend less time in deep sleep where your body is repairing itself. The signal from mobile phones can be keep you wired which prevents you reaching optimum sleep. I recently moved my phone to another room and remained disciplined to not use after 20:00 pm. The blue light from SMART devices will also keep your brain stimulated, this however is a discussion for another post another time due to the wide reasons why.

9: Measure your REM sleep and aim of 2 hours a night. REM sleep, marked by muscle relaxation, rapid eye movement, irregular breathing, heightened heart rate, and increased brain activity, holds significant importance. Most adults require approximately two hours of REM sleep nightly. This phase of sleep contributes to memory consolidation, emotional processing, brain maturation, and the occurrence of dreams.

The significance of REM sleep lies in its impact on mood, memory, and learning. During REM sleep, brain activity mirrors wakefulness, aiding in the processing of emotions and the formation of memories. Inadequate REM sleep can negatively influence mood, memory retention, and cognitive function. If you’re facing sleep disturbances, it’s likely that your REM sleep is being compromised, potentially affecting your overall mental and emotional well-being.

Tracking REM sleep can sound counter intuitive when keeping SMART devices out of the room. If you were to keep a SMART device in the room, I would recommend using a SMART watch and keep it on airplane mode when sleeping.

Don’t worry if you don’t get enough REM, just keep in mind the above points 1 to 8 and I’m sure this will put itself right.

Are you getting the sleep you need?

If you would like to improve your sleep, please get in touch for discussion in trust and explore where YOU can improve your own sleep hygiene.

Feel free to book in an initial chat or get in touch to ask for advice or ask any questions.

Contact Chris

 

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