If you haven't read The Wellness Report over at matchesfashion.com it's really worth taking a look at their super cool fashion and wellness blog. I was honored to have been asked once again to appear on their blog with my advice, this time on how to get a restful and revitalising sleep. If you are struggling with sleep, this article is for you!
7 secrets of restful sleep
Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, once said, ‘The way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep.’ Indeed, lack of sleep can have severe effects, ranging from weight gain and dry skin to heightened emotions and excess cortisol levels. So how can we learn to sleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed, energised and ready to face the day? Jacqueline Hurst shares her wisdom...
1. BE CONSISTENT
Consistency promotes good sleeping patterns. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time each day will teach your body what you want it to do. It will help to keep your body clock in time and promote your natural drive to sleep. If you are awake at night, choose to stay in bed and conserve your energy by lying still and breathing. Don’t disrupt your pattern.
2. MOOD LIGHTING
The blue light from your laptop or smartphone is a lot more stressful on your body than you may realise when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. Many of us still relax in the evenings with bright, artificial lights, which prevents the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Dim the lights in your bedroom and living room, or use candles to stimulate the production of melatonin. Think about putting a baby to bed, you wouldn’t put them in front of bright lights just before bed time, instead you wind them down with soft lighting to ease them sleep. Do the same for yourself.
Meditation can help maintain a healthy sleep rhythm and is a great way to relax the mind. Meditating for just 10 minutes a day should help you to notice an increased sense of wellbeing. The beauty of meditation is that you don’t need anything for it, just somewhere quiet and relaxed, like your bedroom. Begin by just following your breath: inhale for four counts, exhale for four counts and don’t worry if you have some thoughts – that’s normal – just keep coming back to the breath.
4. ACCEPT AND BE MINDFUL
Worrying about not sleeping or imagining how bad things will be if you don’t sleep only helps to increase night-time stress. It’s important to slow your mind down to stop catastrophising or creating anxiety. Bring yourself back to the present moment and focus on the now. Getting the right thoughts in your mind really matters.
Knowing what not to eat or drink can really help with insomnia. Avoiding caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol (which is a stimulant as well as a depressant) and anything high in sugars is key. Caffeine is one of the worst offenders – if you love your coffee or caffeinated tea, drink as much as you want but make sure you stop by midday. That gives your body a good 10-12 hours to recover from the caffeine hit, and ensures you’re in wind-down mode in time for bed.
6. THINK NATURAL
Sleep is a natural physiological process that cannot be controlled. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, your body manages and requires sleep in much the same way that it regulates the need for eating and drinking and breathing. Having a reliance on unnatural night-time rituals or pills can fuel sleep anxiety and further sleeplessness.
I’m not saying stop exercising altogether, but be careful not to exercise too vigorously or too close to bedtime. Intense exercise can lead to the elevation of some hormones (such as cortisol), which may prevent you from drifting off easily. If you’re suffering with sleep issues, try to work out early in the day.
Jacqueline Hurst (jacquelinehurst.com) is the founder of The Life Class (thelifeclass.com)
You can read the full article over at Matches Fashion here