Sleep is as important to our health as maintaining a balanced diet but for many people, getting better sleep is easier said than done.
We’ve all been there. Tossing and turning all night. Staring at the ceiling. Counting sheep. Watching mind numbing infomercials on mute at 3am. Whether you can’t switch off after work or there’s something else keeping you up at all hours, it’s so important you prioritise sleep – for both your physical and mental wellbeing.
Quality sleep helps keep your immune system strong and decreases your risk of injury. Poor sleep is linked to mental health problems including anxiety and depression. Like we said, sleep is important. So here are 5 simple tips to help improve your chance of a better sleep, and in the long term, a healthier sleep routine.
Stress is one of the most common causes of troubled sleep. Having a regular exercise routine is a natural remedy to combat stress. Exercising promotes feel-good neurotransmitters such as serotonin and releases endorphins – chemicals which act as natural painkillers. In turn, the release of these chemicals relieves stress and feelings of sadness and can improve your ability to sleep.
However, be mindful of the timing of your exercise. If you’re exercising in the afternoon, many people need time to wind down before bedtime. Mind-body exercises such as yoga and stretching can help to lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and reduce blood pressure. Yoga is low impact on your body and focuses on breathing which can help you relax before you go to bed.
Caffeine can cause sleep restlessness, even ten to twelve hours after drinking it! If you’re the type of person who loves coffee or black tea, try to limit your intake to the morning so that the effects wear away before you go to bed. If you feel you need a pick-me-up in the afternoon, consider switching to decaffeinated coffee or herbal tea. You can also try a small cup of chamomile tea leading up to your bedtime. Its calming effects are attributed to the antioxidant called Apigenin and it can help to reduce stress, anxiety and treats insomnia.
Go to Bed Earlier
It’s easier said than done, especially when there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. Yet the time of night you choose to go to sleep makes a significant difference to the quality of your sleep. Every hour you sleep before midnight is worth twice the amount you get after midnight. During the first third of the night we experience the deepest sleep and are less likely to be disturbed or woken. It sounds like common sense, but if you want a better sleep, going to bed earlier is a great place to start…
If your racing mind is keeping you awake at night, it might be time to try meditation. It’s often difficult switching off our brains from the stresses of the day. The practice of calming your mind through meditation creates the same physiological changes that occur in your body during the early phases of sleep. Your pulse slows down, blood pressure drops and stress hormones decrease. There are hundreds of meditation apps available, many of which are free to download onto your smartphone or tablet to help you practice meditation. The Smiling Mind app helps millions of Australians meditate every day.
Improve Your Sleep Environment
A peaceful environment sends signals to your brain that it’s time to relax. Small changes to your bedtime environment can make a big difference to your quality of sleep. Keep your room dark, cool and quiet. It could also be time to assess your mattress. Your mattress should be tailored to suit your individual body and lifestyle. Waking up with aches and pains in your neck, shoulder or hip regions is a strong indicator that your mattress has lost the support your body needs. Old mattresses are also susceptible to gathering dust mites and trapping allergens. If you have sensitive skin and persistent allergies even after washing your sheets, your old mattress could be the culprit of your poor sleep.
At Beds for Backs, our ergonomic beds are specifically designed to match the natural curvature of your spine to support your body and help you get a better night’s sleep. We use only the most premium materials to combat allergens and our mattresses come with a ’60 days happy guarantee’. Visit your nearest store to find the support you need. To speak to one of our experts, you can also contact us on 1800 96 10 10.