We can all identify with the idea of quality over quantity. These words ring particularly true when it comes to our sleep.
Scientists reckon that we benefit from high-quality, shorter amounts of sleep than longer bouts of low-quality sleep.
Quality sleep is so important, it’s given rise to the latest health trend, clean sleeping. Essentially it’s about making sure you’re setting yourself up each day to get quality shut-eye each night – a trend we can get behind! Here are my top tips.
1. Eat your way to sweeter dreams.
Preparation for good sleep can begin with breakfast. Straight off the bat, you want to be consuming mindful meals that will support your sleep that night.
Start your day with good quality protein and fats to keep hormones and blood sugar levels in check. Think poached eggs on toast with avocado or a wholesome protein smoothie.
I recommend complex carbohydrates with dinner to help the body’s production of tryptophan – the amino acid responsible for making you sleepy.
Skip a sugar-laden dessert and instead opt for a small protein infused snack to once again support the soothing transition that your body requires in order to rest appropriately.
2. Spend time with the sun.
Our body runs on a 24-hour schedule known as our circadian rhythm. This cycle is dictated by a number of hormones, including melatonin.
When we expose ourselves to natural sunlight for 15mins each morning, we provide our body with the natural ability to regulate melatonin and signal our entire system that we are officially awake and ready for a new day.
It is when we disconnect from regular sleeping patterns and force our body to adapt to artificial sleeping habits that we negatively impact not only our sleep cycles but our general state of health too.
3. Create sleep rituals.
Just like a morning routine can set you up for the day ahead, a bedtime schedule prepares you for a night’s rest.
Creating and refining for yourself a series of rituals to help support your beauty sleep is beneficial in tapping into your body’s circadian rhythm and signalling to yourself that it is time to wind down.
Try changing into comfortable pyjamas, dousing yourself in sleep-promoting essential oil (lavender, cardamom, rose), sipping on a cup of herbal tea (chamomile and passionflower act as mild sedatives, calming and soothing your body to help you transition into rest).
Settle into a book and ease yourself away from the disruptive blue-light in electronic screens which disrupts your levels of melatonin, even if you are able to fall asleep – this light can influence the quality of restorative sleep you get as it‘s brightness can trick your body into thinking it’s 2pm as opposed to 10pm!
4. Warm yourself up.
Our body temperature naturally drops at night when it comes time to fall asleep.
By raising your body temperature a few degrees via a hot bath or shower before bed, you create a steep dip in temperature just before you hit the pillow, which in turn gives you a better chance of deeper and more restorative sleep.