Being self-employed means it’s super difficult for me to switch-off. My brain doesn’t stop thinking about business when it hits 5:30pm, and it certainly doesn’t rest at the weekend. That’s why over the past 12 months it’s been more important to me than ever, not to neglect my sleep routine.
For so many years I felt guilty for deciding to stay in and go to bed, as opposed to partying with my friends. It only took me about 20 something years to realise that I don’t need to feel bad for dedicating time to my health and wellbeing. Turns out, sleep is ridiculously important and nothing to feel bad about. Praise the Lord! 💖
To me, now there is nothing better than having a steaming hot bath and climbing into crisp, fresh bed sheets with a lavender diffuser on, knowing there isn’t going to be an alarm in the morning because it’ll be a Sunday.
Many of us notice when we’re oversleeping and if we’re honest with ourselves, we can quickly resolve it. However, there are so many people across the country struggling with sleep deprivation, as they try and juggle their work, friends, family and home life, unknown to the health risks that come with lack of sleep.
Are you sleep deprived?
I recently heard that sleep deprivation will kill you more quickly than food deprivation. I saw a video online of people taking part int he spoon test. To get started, all you need is a spoon and a metal tray. Dr Michael Mosley recommends a strange-sounding Sleep Onset Latency Test. It was developed by a researcher called Nathaniel Kleitman from the University of Chicago.
Simply lie down in a quiet, darkened room in the early afternoon clutching a spoon over the edge of the bed. Place a metal tray on the floor by your bed, check the time, then close your eyes. The idea is that when you nod off, the spoon will drop on the metal tray once you’re asleep – thereby waking you up.
When you wake, immediately check the time to see how much time has elapsed. According to Professor Kleitman, if you fall asleep within five minutes of closing your eyes, you’re severely sleep deprived. Within ten minutes indicates then you’re having trouble getting a good night’s rest, and anything over 15 minutes is just about okay.
*Yawn!* What’s the big deal?
Sleep can boost your mental wellbeing, increase fertility and ward off health problems. But what does poor sleep look like? Regularly getting a bad nights nip puts you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy.
Tempur® have recently produced an interactive infographic, Improve Your Sleep, packed full of all the necessary and insightful information there is to know around sleep. The video aims to help improve night time routines and has some great sleeping tips to assist you to the land of nod, if you’re having trouble switching off.
Okay, I get it! What else can I do?
Fear not! There are plenty of ways that you can improve your sleep routine, thus benefiting your long-term physical and mental health. Last year I had a bout of insomnia but I kicked it after following these rules:
- Don’t eat a big meal before bedtime.
- Have a bath before hitting the hay.
- Invest in a comfy bed, covers and pillows.
- Check your duvet tog rating, you need to be cool to drift off.
- Only drink caffeine in the morning.
- Take a multi vitamin everyday.
- Put your phone in another room.
- Go for a quick swim or a swim before dinner.
- Swap your evening drinks for a camomile tea.
- Leave your curtains open for the morning.
- Declutter your bedroom (not before bed!)
- Buy a mattress topper if you need a little extra comfort.
- Open a window to cool down.
- Sprinkle a little lavender essential oil on your pillow.
- Wear a sleep mask to block our natural light.
- Give hypnotherapy tapes a go!
I usually find it so much easier to fall asleep during the summer (surprisingly, despite it being warmer!) because I’m more active. I spend so much time in the sea and tend to go out running much more, meaning by the evening I naturally nod off on the sofa without even trying. Maybe that’s part of the secret, not trying!
However you make your way to the land of nod, share your tips and tricks for a good nights sleep in the comments below to help us all catch a few more Z’s. Also, we’d love to hear what you’ve found doesn’t work, too!