Sleep is essential for our health and wellbeing – in fact, it’s just as important as eating healthily and exercising. A good night’s sleep allows the body and mind to recharge, and is even involved in the repair of the heart and blood vessels. It’s recommended that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night, but unfortunately there’s a lot that can interfere with natural sleep patterns, meaning bedtimes and wake-up times can fluctuate, throwing a sleep routine out of whack.
Our sleep cycles are regulated by an internal body clock that controls when we feel tired and ready for bed, as well as when we feel refreshed and alert. And as we are creatures of habit, our bodies tend to want to follow the same consistent sleep pattern. If our sleep pattern is disrupted it can be difficult to fall asleep and wake up at the right times, ultimately leaving us sleep-deprived, which can affect performance and mood. If this sounds like you, follow these tips to reset your sleep routine and ensure you get the best night’s sleep.
Get the Lighting Right
One of the best ways to fix your sleep schedule is to plan your exposure to light, as research suggests that the right light levels can help to reset the body clock. The body naturally produces a hormone called melatonin, often called the sleep hormone, which signals to your brain that it’s time to fall asleep. Darkness or low lighting tells your brain to make more melatonin, making you feel drowsy, whereas light causes the brain to cease melatonin production, waking you up.
At night, prepare yourself for a deep slumber by turning off or dimming bright lights and steering clear of electronic screens from computers, smartphones or televisions, as they can stimulate your brain for several hours and trick your body into thinking it’s still daytime.
Meditate To Relax
Research suggests that meditation can help to promote a truly restful night’s sleep, because when we settle the mind, we also rest the body, making it easier to wind down and drift off. Before bed, try 10 minutes of deep breathing or simple stretches to relax your body. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, exhaling slowly to release the tensions of the day and refocus your mind, while simultaneously resting your body and preparing it for a deep sleep.
Our Light Range Petitgrain & Lavender Room Mist is my bedside table essential. Lavender oil is widely recognised as a natural sleep aid and an all-natural sedative, so I like to spritz it on my pillow and let the stresses and strains of the day drift away as I inhale the aroma while sleeping.
Adding a few drops of essential oil to a bath before bed is another way to ease away tensions at the end of a busy day and prepare yourself for a good night’s rest. I like to add our Nurture Bath Oil to the water – with notes of calming may chang, harmonising roman chamomile and soothing sandalwood, it helps to release me from the stresses of the day so that I can rediscover my inner calm.
The key to a good nap is knowing when to indulge in one, when to avoid it, and how long to let yourself sleep. A brief nap can be refreshing and restorative, helping you gain mental clarity, but longer naps, taken late in the day, can disrupt your sleep pattern, making it difficult to fall asleep at night.
If you must nap, try to nod off no later than 3pm to prevent disrupting your night-time sleep schedule, and don’t sleep for longer than 10-20 minutes to avoid entering the deeper stages of sleep, which can leave you feeling worse than you did before you lay down.
Eat Dinner Early
Did you know that eating late in the day can affect the quality of your sleep? Eating large meals late at night can disrupt your internal body clock, as all that digestive action can make your body think this is an active part of the day. Instead, try to avoid eating anything for at least 2 hours before bedtime. Similarly, drinking caffeine, which is a stimulant, before you go to bed may make it harder to fall asleep, and alcohol consumption before bedtime has been known to reduce sleep quality and even cause insomnia, leaving you excessively fatigued the next day.
Making these adjustments to your sleep schedule may take some time, but stick with it, as the most important factor is consistency. Even making small, gradual changes to your routine is sure to leave you feeling well-rested in no time!
Love Jane x