How To Prep Your Body & Mind For An Amazing Sleep
Whether you're a night owl, an early riser (or a little bit of both depending on the day), we're learning more and more everyday about the health benefits of sleep — and, on the flip side, the health implications of a lack of quality sleep.
Co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, is so passionate about this topic that she has written a new book called The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At A Time. Huffington asserts that "we are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis...and this has profound consequences – on our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness. What is needed, she boldly asserts, is nothing short of a sleep revolution. Only by renewing our relationship with sleep can we take back control of our lives."
It's now clear that sleep deprivation can interfere with our bodies natural rhythms and can cause a host of issues including increased stress, weight gain, poor concentration, moodiness, anxiety, depression and even an elevated risk of heart attack, strokes, type 2 diabetes and cancer. While, getting enough quality shut-eye (7 or 8 hours is ideal for the average adult), can reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood and elevate happiness, improve our mental clarity and concentration, enhance our job performance and relationships and reduce our risk for heart attack, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
Here we're sharing our top tips to help you wind-down at night and ultimately improve the quality of your sleep.
Cut your caffeine intake off at 3 pm
Sure, we now know that drinking both coffee and caffeine actually offers many amazing health benefits (hello antioxidants and increased longevity!). However, when it comes to sleep, caffeine is not your friend. We suggest getting all of your caffeine — in the form of coffee, some teas, soda drinks and even chocolate — in before 3 pm. Then, if you're still craving something warm and soothing, reach for herbal teas like chamomile or even warm milk with a pinch of cinnamon instead.
Set a regular bedtime routine - and stick with it!
Just like children, adults actually do thrive when they practice regular routines. A sleep-inducing bedtime routine can be anything from pouring yourself a cup of tea and reading an inspiring book in bed to drawing a warm aromatherapy bath to spending 5 minutes practicing calming yoga, breathing exercises and gratitude before you lay your head on the pillow. Our best advice is to choose whatever routine can help calm your body and mind down and do your best to stick with it.
Use yoga & breathing to relax your body & calm your mind
If we go to bed thinking about our endless to-do list and all the things that stressed us out that day, it's easy to see why we would wake up feeling equally as haggard. It's been shown that even just 5 minutes of calming yoga or deep relaxing breathing before you settle in to sleep can help ready our bodies and minds for sleep and help improve the quality of our overall sleep. Other tips include thinking of or writing down 5 things you are grateful for, letting go of any negativity you may have encountered throughout your day and forgiving yourself or others for any grudges you may be holding on to. Each of these nightly practices can help switch us into a positive and peaceful state of mind, which helps promote better sleep.
Ban screens from your bedroom, at least an hour before dozing off
Be it a smart phone, ipad, computer or other tablet, experts agree it's a good idea to switch off any and all devices at least 30 minutes before you intend to go to sleep. The light that emits from these device screens (and even daylight) can suppress melatonin levels, which is our bodies natural sleep aid. So, next time you're binge watching Netflix, surfing the net or scrolling through Instagram while lying in bed, do yourself a favour and switch them off 30 minutes before you close your eyes. You can even take it a step further by making sure your bedroom is slightly cool and closing the blinds or drapes to create a cool and calm atmosphere that's ideal for catching zzzzz's.
→ If you liked this article, read on for 8 Secrets For A Happy Relationship