How to clean up your bedtime routine: A guide to a better nights sleep.
You might be aware of some of the side effects due to lack of sleep. Feeling grumpy and not working at your best, are well known. But did you know that sleep deprivation can also have profound consequences on your physical health?
According to the UK National Health Service (NHS), one in 3 of us suffers from poor sleep, with stress, computers and working from home often blamed and that the cost of all those sleepless nights is more than just bad moods and a lack of focus (1).
Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy (NHS, 2020)
Poor sleep increases your body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol, which can also cause your body to store fat, particularly around your midsection. Additionally, when you’re tired, you’re more susceptible to cravings for unhealthy foods. Not great if you're watching your weight.
The term “sleep hygiene” refers to a series of healthy sleep habits that can improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Today, I'm sharing a few tips to help you establish some of your own healthy sleep habits.
Keep a consistent sleep schedule.
Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during holidays. Something that works well is setting an alert on a smartwatch (or phone) to remind you it’s time to wind down for the day. Be sure to set a time that is early enough for you to get at least 7 hours of sleep.
Declutter your Head
Writing "to do" lists for the next day can organise your thoughts and clear your mind of any distractions that might stop you from falling or staying asleep.
Establish a relaxing bedtime routine
Make getting ready for bed a treat. Try a soak in the bathtub with some Epsom Salts (magnesium is great to help your muscles relax & aid sleep), wear your favourite PJs, who else loves jumping into fresh bed linen?
When asked what she wore to bed, Marilyn Monroe famously replied, “I only wear Chanel No. 5.” (Life Magazine in April 1952).
Make your bedroom quiet and relaxing
Keep the room at a comfortable, cool temperature. Limit exposure to bright light in the evenings & turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Try putting your phone in another room to charge. Remind yourself that the bedroom is for sleeping and sex, so your 'duvet desk' days should be numbered!
Try not to eat a large meal before bedtime
If you are hungry at night, eat a light, healthy snack. Try half a banana before bed if you're peckish. Bananas contain tryptophan and magnesium. Both of these properties may help you get a good night’s sleep (cherries and almonds are good too)! Check out Healthline's 9 Best Foods to Eat Before Bedtime.
More tips for getting a better nights sleep
You can find a number of apps designed to help with sleep in the NHS Apps Library, such as Pzizz, Sleepio and Sleepstation. The Sleepstation website also provides a range of useful articles and resources designed to aid sleep.
Need extra support?
Working with a Health Coach can help you to understand any underlying causes which may be affecting your sleep or quality of sleep, such as lifestyle, diet or stress. They can help to identify ways to manage them and support you with adopting a good bedtime routine.
Alternatively, you can talk to your Doctor or Medical Practitioner to investigate other ways to get a better nights sleep.
Adelle Adams mANP-HC is a qualified Health Coach (College of Naturopathic Medicine) and a member of the UK Health Coaches Association. As a certified Health Coach and Wellness Specialist, Adelle primarily educates and motivates her clients to assume more personal responsibility for their health by adopting a healthy attitude, lifestyle, and diet. Articles posted are not a substitute for professional medical or nutritional advice and treatment.