How good is your sleep recently? There seems to be an epidemic of bad sleep going round! Many of my clients report poor sleep as an issue.
A lack of sleep can affect:
- Your memory
- Your immune system
- Your cardiovascular system
- Your chances of getting dementia in later life
- Your fertility
If you’re someone who doesn’t find getting to sleep at night easy, you’re not alone – insomnia is one of the UK’s biggest googled health worries.
I believe that sleep is one of the cornerstones of health and wellbeing. Even one or two nights of poor sleep can really make you feel low, agitated and sluggish.
So often people focus on what they should be doing and they aim to do it perfectly This can causes stress in itself. So, for this blog I thought I would reverse it and focus on the three main things that you could not do that would make the biggest difference to your sleep.
The three things are simply:
- Stop shallow breathing. Try some diaphragmatic breathing which is amazing for deeply relaxing
- Try not to use anything digital in the hour before bed as it stimulates your brain
- Don’t go to bed at random times. Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day when possible
Let’s look at them one by one.
1 – Stop shallow breathing
Just take a moment now and notice how you are breathing. Is your breath high in your chest or from low? Are your breathes shallow or deep? Fast or slow? Are you breathing through your nose or your mouth? We mostly take the breath for granted. It is taken care of by our unconscious mind which operates our breathing and all the systems and organs in the body to keep us alive. But you can really relax by breathing in a different way and although there are many techniques and even classes for breathing, diaphragmatic breathing is a good one to master because it really relaxes your and puts you in control. Many of my clients I help with anxiety and stress find it very beneficial and it’s a great one to do in bed to prepare for sleep.
2 – Try not to use anything digital in the hour before bed
Now without getting all scientific here about the reward receptors in your brain and how they love a bit of Facebook and Instagram, think about this for a moment. You are looking at a bright screen, your eyes are focused on small items and words and you might be toggling between apps, internet, text and calls. Does that sound like a peaceful bedtime wind down time?! I think not. I actually read yesterday that our brains don’t know the difference between work emails and personal emails, Your brain jumps into ‘work’ mode whenever it sees an email and this creates cortisol (a stress hormone) in your body. Not what you want at bedtime. So stay away from the Digital gadgets at bedtime and choose a more soothing and relaxing wind down activity. You will absolutely notice a difference.
3 – Don’t go to bed at random times
We are creatures of habit really. We do well with routines and we have to sleep every night so might as well try and make it a routine that your body will like. We put children to bed at the same time each night mostly but not ourselves? Your body will love a routine for sleep, just as it loves regular mealtimes. It knows what to expect and can manage its energy accordingly.
Because sleep is so important to your health and maybe an issue for you, you might like to try the things on this list and let me know which is your favourite. Or maybe you have a ‘stop doing’ tip of your own that you can share in the comments of this blog? We would love to hear it, you might help someone sleep better tonight.
Sign up for the Wellbeing Challenge to have better sleep, more energy and feel more relaxed
If you want more sleep advice, sign up for my 21 Day Wellbeing Challenge which focuses on helping you feel great by looking at your 5 ‘pillars’ of Wellness: