Welcome to the final instalment of my blog series on the remarkable world of sleep. In the previous parts, we explored the active nature of sleep, its impact on cognitive function and emotional well-being, as well as its role in physical recovery and vitality. Now, it’s time to talk about practical strategies and tips for optimizing your sleep habits and achieving a well-rested sleep, night after night.
It’s taken me years to develop good sleep habits, and so keep that in mind as you read below. Also remember that we are all human. So, life gets in the way and some weeks are better than others. All we are looking for is small gains by using the practical tips and strategies below.
Establish Consistent Sleep Patterns: Set a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body’s internal clock and promotes better sleep quality. Going to bed late affects the days following, and sometimes you might have to leave the party early, or only watch 1 Netflix episode of the latest trendy series. In the end, sleep wins every time.
Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment: Make your bedroom a sanctuary for sleep. Keep the room cool, dark, and quiet. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillow, use white noise if you have to. We have everything at our fingertips and so there really is no excuse.
Two of the things I always recommend are a) a good sleep mask and b) good sheets. We use Hush, they are an investment, but there is no substitute for a good night’s sleep.
Develop a nighttime routine: Establish a relaxing bedtime routine to signal to your body that it’s time to sleep. I brush my teeth and wash my face, read for about 30 minutes and drink sleepy-time tea. I use David’s tea, Valerian Nights, but there are a lot of different options out there. And I always fall asleep to a meditation, I have my favourites and I look forward to the guided 30 minutes to really fall into a deep sleep.
Avoid Heavy Meals and Alcohol: Avoid eating a large meal, consuming caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime, believe it or not … they all disrupt your sleep. And often they make it hard to fall asleep. I try not to eat or drink much after 7pm, and it has worked wonders for me getting to sleep and staying asleep. Again, we are human first. And I certainly enjoy a nice glass of wine on the deck, I just don’t make it a regular thing when I’m having trouble sleeping.
Regular Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity can promote better sleep. However, try to avoid exercising too close to bedtime, as it may energize your body and make it harder to fall asleep.
This one takes a while to make a difference for me, it’s not like you can crush a workout at the gym, head home and sleep like a baby for the rest of the week. Nope. This one happens with consistency over time. Stick with it though, it does work.
Make a Commitment to Yourself: And keep it. A promise made to yourself is the most important kind of promise. Remember that. You are setting yourself up for success tomorrow when you get a good sleep today. Your mind and body deserve that kind of attention.
Seek Professional Help if Needed: If you consistently struggle with sleep despite implementing these strategies, consider seeking guidance from a sleep specialist. They can help diagnose any underlying sleep disorders and recommend appropriate treatments. Sometimes it’s a diagnosis of sleep apnea, and you need to get professional help. Talk to your doctor if you think you aren’t getting a good sleep.
Remember, sleep is a pillar of well-being and success. By prioritizing quality rest, you can unlock your true potential, enhance cognitive function, improve emotional well-being, and optimize physical recovery.
I hope this blog series has shed light on the importance of sleep and provided you with valuable insights and practical tips. Embrace the power of sleep, implement these strategies, and embark on a transformative journey to a well-rested life.
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