5 Ways to Improve Your Sleep
Mar 11, 2020
No one can deny how good we feel after a night of uninterrupted, restful sleep. Now I am not someone who believes that this is attainable every night of our lives but I am someone who believes you should make good sleep a regular habit. That’s right, a habit. Sleep and a delicious chocolate cake are alike. They are both lovely to experience but in the same way a good cake takes preparation time, so does sleep.
Let me take you through five proven ways to enhance your quality and amount of sleep.
- Expose yourself to sun, safely of course - Vitamin D is critical to the body’s mental and physical function and deficiency is a growing problem for older adults. Much of our Vitamin D is produced in our body when we are exposed to sunlight and lower levels of Vitamin D have been shown to reduce sleep quality and duration, leading to lower mood levels. Therefore getting out in the direct sunlight for 5-15 minutes per day can be sufficient, trying to avoid the hottest, high UV parts of the day. Get out in the morning or the late afternoon. You can also eat more foods which contain higher levels of Vitamin D including fatty fish and fish oils, egg yolks and fortified foods such as dairy and juice.
- Set a night time routine - ‘Setting the mood’ maybe something which doesn’t happen every night... setting the mood for sleep that is. It is important in the lead up to sleep (1-2 hours before bed time) to start winding down and eliminating things around you that are too stimulating or stressful. Dimming the brightness of lights or just having lamps on is a great way to start. Instead of watching television, read a book and sip on some herbal tea. Try to relax in a quiet environment and if possible lower the room temperature (18 degrees celsius seems to be the sweet point).
- Avoid caffeine or food close to bedtime - Caffeine can have negative effects on your sleep and having it even six hours before bed can affect your total sleep time through the night. It impedes the amount of time you sleep but also affects the quality of deep sleep you get. So trade your coffee for some non-caffeinated tea or just water. Also avoid large amounts of food in the lead up to bed for a better sleep.
- Have a regular sleep and wake time - A regular bedtime and wake up time can help maintain balance between sleep and wakefulness during the day. Keeping consistency also strengthens your circadian rhythm (body clock) which keeps your sleep times synchronized.
- Get off your phone! - Ensuring your room is dark and free of bright lights is integral to good sleep. Bright blue light from electronic devices can throw off our circadian rhythm and can be detrimental to sleep. So avoid watching TV or using a phone or tablet in the hours leading up to bedtime, even if you really want to watch the latest Be Mobile video on Youtube!
Sleep is your best recovery tool and taking control of it is so important to stay healthy as you age. So create your own nighttime routine and remember to be consistent. Keep your brain and body happy.