Many people are having trouble sleeping during these uncertain times, even the most laid back of us. Our routines have changed, we are increasingly stressed and it's difficult not to feel worried about the future. Sleep is vital to our well being and it's important that we are getting a quality night's rest.
If you’re having trouble sleeping during these less-structured days, you’re not alone. In fact, #cantsleep has been trending on Twitter for the past several weeks. As we enter the next week of lockdown, lack of quality sleep can begin to affect our physical and mental health.
So, how can you sleep more soundly?
- Nail down your sleep routine
Sleep is regulated by our internal body clock, called the circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is developed in response to your normal pattern of daily life. People typically have around seven hours of sleep per night. Ideally, we should look to match our routine to the natural rhythm of light and dark. Going to bed around 10.30pm and getting up at around 6am sets you up perfectly. Developing your own routine in which you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day helps develop your bodies circadian rhythm.
- Limit your exposure
Limit your exposure to the news. In the current time, it is easy to lose hours staring at screens, watching as things unfold and change. Instead, decide how much time each day you’re going to allow yourself for updates. For example, 15 minutes of news in the morning and 15 in the afternoon. Make sure you only look at trusted resources, select a couple and limit yourself to using only these.
- No blue light
Blue light screens on our TV, phones and laptops will typically wake you up.Also, engaging with on screen activity can be over stimulating for your brain and is the exact opposite of what you want to achieve as you relax and calm everything down ready for sleep. Try to avoid looking at screens at least 90 minutes before you turn in. If you do need to look at a screen, consider using blue light filter glasses!
- Are you eating right?
Damage to your gut microbiome (indigenous bacterial population in the gut) from stress, sugar, alcohol, or a low-fibre diet, can ultimately affect serotonin production and increase your risk of poor sleep and mood disorders like anxiety. Your diet is a really good place to start when considering a spring clean to your routine. Fibre rich foods you could try adding to your dish are chia seeds, almonds and oats. Also dark chocolate with cocoa of 70% or more, in moderation, of course.
- Eat your meals at the same time every day
Like children, your gut bugs thrive on structure and a regular schedule. They like to know when their meals are coming. No caffeine after lunch, and drink in moderation. What’s the problem with caffeine, I hear you say. Caffeine is a stimulant — and that can be bad news for anxiety. Caffeine's jittery effects on your body are similar to those of a frightening event. That's because caffeine stimulates our "fight or flight" response, with studies showing that this can make anxiety worse. No late night snacking and try not to eat after 7pm as this forces your gut to do some heavy digestive work which won’t improve the quality of your sleep.
- Keep your cool
Prepare for sleep at least 2hours before bedtime. Having a hot shower or warm bath and then allowing the body to cool down afterwards tells our brains that is time to sleep. Hence sleeping in a cool room is best for a goods night’s rest.
- Exercise during the day
Lots of research shows that some exercise during the day improves our quality of sleep.Some people will do some yoga and stretching before bed. This keeps us away from our screens, is a great way to relax and is great for our deep breathing which helps us unwind.During the day its important to take regular breaks and move around. There are some great free exercise and dance videos online or we can take ourselves off for a walk and get some fresh air and sunshine.
- Celebrate the best
As you get into bed, write down 3 positive things that happened to you today. Research shows this is a great way to improve mood.
We look forward to seeing you at Laura Ashley Hotels soon for a great night's sleep!
Thank you to www.theamberhouse.co.uk for these helpful tips.