It’s the time of year when everyone is thinking about goals for the new year. When setting these we usually focus on improving our wellness and wellbeing. We set goals to eat better, get fitter, take up a new hobby, journal daily, or learn a new skill. But would you set a goal about your sleep routine?
Developing a regular sleeping pattern has a big impact on your overall wellbeing. It sets your body into a routine, can help your mood and have a positive effect on your energy. All the things which are super important for a Boss Babe who is building her empire!
Most people do not get enough sleep. We live in societies where burning the candle at both ends is common. Often in the stressful corporate world, functioning on little rest is viewed as a badge of honor. In the workplace, lack of sleep results in reduced efficiency and productivity. It can lead to errors and even dangerous accidents.
In the short-term, it can affect our judgment and mood. It also affects our ability to learn and store information. In the long-term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to more serious health problems. These can include obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Arianna Huffington, the co-founder and editor in chief of the Huffington Post, has led the charge for society to review how they sleep claiming, “we are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis”. Her book the Sleep Revolution shows how our cultural dismissal of sleep as time wasted, compromises our health and our decision-making.
What small changes could you make to maximise your sleep routine?
Here are my top ten tips
- Wind down an hour before bed by unplugging from technology. Stop using your smartphone, switch off the TV and close down the laptop or tablet. Reading a book or magazine is a better way to prepare the mind for rest.
- Keep the bedroom at a cooler temperature and where possible circulate fresh air. Our bodies like it cool at night, when we begin to warm up it interrupts our sleep.
- Do some gentle yoga or relaxing meditation. Guided meditation apps have specific sessions for going to sleep. Meditation or simple breathing exercises help to close out the chatter and negativity bias in your mind from the day.
- Keep your phone away from your bedside table, or out of the room! This is to stop you from checking it if you awake in the middle of the night.
- When you get ready for bed, wear bedclothes used only for sleeping in, and not your gym t-shirt! When we put on specific clothing for bedtime, it signals to our brain we are preparing for rest.
- Have a warm bath, or use lavender oils and sprays. These are wonderful homeopathic smells for your sensory system and will help calm and relax you.
- Take a magnesium supplement. Studies show a diet lacking in magnesium can make it difficult to relax.
- Build a routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time, helping to regulate your biological clock.
- Avoid exercising a few hours before hitting the hay, allowing your body temperature to lower.
- Ensure your bedroom is a quiet, dark and relaxing sanctuary.
What are your top tips for the perfect bedtime?
Ruth Cooper-Dickson is a wellbeing specialist who runs her own consultancy (CHAMPS). She is a practising mental health first aider and has lived experience of a mental health condition. She’s also just plain AWESOME! 🙂
Check out my podcast interview with Ruth HERE