Healthy habits for a restful night’s sleep
Sleep plays a vital role in how we feel on a day to day basis. It’s the backbone of good health and arguably the most important factor or ‘the base of the pyramid’. When we sleep we repair cells, become stronger, process information and store and increase knowledge. Here are a few ways you can ensure you get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling energised and ready to take on the day.
Keep your sleeping pattern consistent
Having the same bedtime and wake up time is key to keeping a good sleep routine. It may be tempting to stay up into the early hours of the morning watching your favourite Netflix series or playing your favourite video game. However, to help your wellbeing and improve your sleep, sticking to a normal sleeping pattern is key. Go to bed at a similar time and set your alarm to get up each day. If you do have to break your routine for whatever reason try and get back to your routine as soon as possible. Consistency is key.
Set a bedtime routine to relax and switch off
Allowing yourself some time to relax and switch off from life and stressors is really important for a good night’s sleep. Activities such as reading, listening to music/podcasts, meditation or mindfulness are some good ideas for you to consider trying but whatever works for you is key. Try to avoid activities that use a screen.
Engage in regular physical activity/exercise
There is no one way to move- explore different types of physical activity, whether this be a walk; cycle; housework; climbing, or even salsa class. You are more likely to keep consistent if you are enjoying the physical activity you engage in or feel as though it is productive. Sleep studies have found that although exercising right before bedtime could lead to a poor night’s sleep, being active in the day could aid sleep but this does depend on activity type.
Take a look at our videos such as home HIIT workouts, resistance band strength and postural exercises.
Avoid caffeinated drinks from late afternoon
The average effects of coffee last between 4-6 hours!
Instead of reaching for your favourite coffee in the evening, look for decaffeinated alternatives as these won’t interfere with you trying to wind down. There are plenty of decaffeinated coffees and teas now available. If you want to go the extra mile, there are herbal teas containing ingredients such as chamomile, lavender and peppermint which all have properties to promote sleep.
Don’t go to bed with a full stomach or having consumed excessive alcohol
Allowing 2-3 hours between your last meal and bedtime allows you to digest the food. Without this time you may suffer from heartburn symptoms which could disturb your sleep.
Although alcohol may seem to help you fall asleep, it actually reduces your rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep) which is the restorative sleep we need to help with cognitive development and learning. When you drink more than usual you may have to get up in the night to go to the toilet, so if you are drinking alcohol, try to avoid it too close to bedtime.
View our wellbeing page for more helpful tips and resources to benefit your mental and physical wellbeing.