"I should sleep more"
"I should go to bed earlier"
"I wish I could just switch off my thoughts"
Let's talk sleep.
A good night’s sleep is everything. Literally everything. So why is it so hard to get? You feel so tired mid-afternoon / can barely keep your eyes open at the dinner table, then you hit the pillow and BAM you're wide awake and your brain switches to over drive.
We know poor sleep affects us in many ways; on your hormones, your brain function, causes weight gain and mood swings. In contrast, we know how incredible we feel after consistent, regular good sleep.
So why is it so hard to get a good nights sleep? Here's a round up of our favourite ways to encourage a better nights sleep;
Your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as your circadian rhythm.
It affects your brain, body, and hormones, helping you stay awake and telling your body when it’s time to sleep.
Natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. This improves daytime energy, as well as nighttime sleep quality and duration.
Exposure to light during the day is beneficial, but night time light exposure has the opposite effect.
Again, this is due to its effect on your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and get deep sleep.
Blue light — which electronic devices like smartphones and computers emit in large amounts — is the worst in this regard.
There are several popular methods you can use to reduce nighttime blue light exposure. These include:
- Wear glasses that block blue light
- Download an app such as f.lux to block blue light on your laptop or computer.
- Install an app that blocks blue light on your smartphone. These are available for both iPhones and Android models.
- Stop watching TV and turn off any bright lights 2 hours before heading to bed.
Caffeine has oh so many benefits and I love it just as much as you do. However, when consumed late in the day, caffeine stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night.
Caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for 6–8 hours. Therefore, drinking large amounts of coffee after 3–4 p.m. is not recommended, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine or have trouble sleeping.
While short power naps are beneficial (and heavenly when you can get them), long or irregular napping during the day can negatively affect your sleep.
Sleeping in the daytime can confuse your internal clock, meaning that you may struggle to sleep at night.
If you take regular daytime naps and sleep well, you shouldn’t worry. The effects of napping depend on the individual. Long daytime naps may impair sleep quality. If you have trouble sleeping at night, stop napping or shorten your naps.