A good night's sleep is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing, yet many of us struggle to get a solid stretch without being woken up or caught in a cycle of rumination – it could be that humiliating memory from 10 years ago that’s keeping you awake! That’s why we’re here with five effective strategies to optimise your sleep and enjoy a more restful night.
If you find yourself tossing and turning, or if you wake up feeling tired and groggy, it's time to take a closer look at your sleep habits. After all, how we rest can have a butterfly effect on the rest of our day – from our mood and energy levels to our appetite. So, what can you do? It turns out there are a few simple methods to have you sleeping like a baby – minus the waking up crying every three hours!
Get Early Morning Sunlight Exposure
Exposure to natural light plays a crucial role in regulating our circadian rhythm, the internal clock that governs our sleep-wake cycle. Aim to get outside and soak in the morning sunlight for at least 15-30 minutes each day. This helps signal to your body that it's time to wake up and be alert. Natural light exposure in the morning can improve your mood, energy levels, and sleep quality. But we're not suggesting you go out and sun bake; after all skin cancer is on the rise, and if you're here with us Down Under, you'll know how fierce those rays can be.
Limit Caffeine Intake
Caffeine is a well-known stimulant found in coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate. While it can provide a much-needed energy boost during the day, consuming caffeine too late in the afternoon or evening can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. To optimise your sleep, avoid caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime. Instead, opt for caffeine-free herbal teas or warm milk as relaxing alternatives.
Magnesium is a vital mineral that plays a role in muscle and nerve function, including the relaxation of muscles. It can help you unwind and prepare your body for sleep. You can find magnesium in foods like nuts, seeds, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables. Consider incorporating magnesium-rich foods into your dinner or taking a magnesium supplement to promote relaxation and better sleep.
Create a Dark Bedroom
A dark bedroom is conducive to quality sleep. Even small sources of light, such as digital alarm clocks or streetlights outside your window, can disrupt your sleep. Invest in blackout curtains or consider using a sleep mask to eliminate light disturbances. A dark sleep environment can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Here are a few key ways to achieve the ideal sleep environment:
- Darkness: Ensure your bedroom is as dark as possible. Invest in blackout curtains or shades to block out external light sources, and turn off or cover any electronic devices with bright displays.
- Comfortable Bedding: Choose a comfortable mattress and pillows that suit your sleep preferences. Opt for breathable and moisture-wicking bed linens to keep you cool and comfortable.
- Cool Temperature: A slightly cooler room temperature is generally more conducive to sleep. Most people find a range between 15-20°C comfortable. If you're here in Australia, we know that's certainly not always possible! If you can't use air conditioning, consider filling a bowl with ice and positioning a small fan in front of it for a refreshing breeze.
- Quiet Environment: Minimise noise disruptions. If you can't eliminate external noise, consider using earplugs or a white noise machine to drown out disturbances.
- Clean and Clutter-Free: A tidy and clutter-free bedroom can contribute to a sense of calm and relaxation. Keep your sleep space clean and organised.
- Limit Electronic Devices: The blue light emitted from phones, tablets, and computers can interfere with your sleep. Try to avoid screens at least an hour before bedtime.
- Aromatherapy: Some people find that calming scents like lavender or chamomile can promote relaxation and sleep. Consider using essential oils or aromatherapy diffusers.
- Limit Caffeine and Alcohol: Both caffeine and alcohol can interfere with sleep quality. Avoid consuming these substances, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime.
- Comfortable Sleepwear: Wear comfortable and breathable sleepwear that doesn't restrict movement or cause discomfort.
- Soothing Colour Palette: Yep, the colour of your wall could make all the difference! While you might not have time to whip out the paint and redo the colour scheme, you can still choose calming and soothing colours for your bedroom decor. Soft blues, grays, and earth tones can create a serene atmosphere – we’re talking about furniture, cushions, pillows, blankets and even smaller items like candles and flowers.
- Consistent Sleep Schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This consistency helps regulate your body's internal clock.
Avoid Added Sugar
Sugar consumption close to bedtime can lead to spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, which can disrupt your sleep. Sugary snacks or desserts before bedtime can leave you feeling jittery and restless. Instead, choose a light, balanced snack if you're hungry before bed, such as a small portion of whole-grain crackers with almond butter or a piece of fruit.
Incorporating these five strategies into your daily routine can make a significant difference in the quality of your sleep. Remember that consistency is key. It may take some time to establish new sleep habits, but the rewards in terms of better sleep and improved overall health are well worth the effort. Prioritise your sleep, and you'll wake up feeling refreshed, alert, and ready to tackle the day ahead. Sweet – but not too sweet – dreams!
Need a little help getting your health back on track? Join us for the 8-Week Program and we’ll help you change the way you look at food – and that doesn’t mean you have to follow restrictive diets or miss out on your favourite foods; we believe you can still enjoy delicious food without jeopardising your health. With celebrity chef Sarah Glover on our panel of experts, you’ll have an array of fun recipes at your fingertips, along with our own exclusive armoury of simple, tasty and healthy recipes for everything from daily meals to impressive entertaining. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!