A good night’s sleep comes with many health benefits, including (but certainly not limited to) increased metabolism and cellular repair, and better mental health. A lack of sleep, in turn, could lead to insulin resistance, glucose intolerance and heart disease. In other words: Sleep is as essential to your routine as eating well and staying active, yet many of us still struggle to get a good night’s sleep. What can we do? Here, how to sleep better in five easy steps.
1. Make your bedroom a sanctuary. It’s essential that when you’re getting ready for bed you feel calm and relaxed. One way to do this is to transform your bedroom an inviting space that is dedicated to rest, whatever that may mean for you: Clearing all clutter, burning soy candles, wearing comfortable pajamas, etcetera and so on.
2. Stretch and unwind. Shaking off the day with a few stretches can be both restorative and relaxing. Try going through a series of yoga poses for 3 – 7 minutes before you sleep. If yoga isn’t for you, try lying with your hips square and legs resting on the wall; ten minutes of this a day can improve your digestion, ease your legs and prepare you mentally for sleep.
3. Stop scrolling. Checking Facebook/ Instagram/ Pinterest before bed can be extremely damaging for your health. On an emotional level, it can bring up a whole lot of stuff before bed time (looking at your favourite #fitspo after you run through your daily diet can make it hard to sleep!) and raise your cortisol levels. Instead, put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode and on a charger before you enter your bedroom.
4. Drink a warm tea an hour before bed. Making a hot tea before bed can relax and calm you. It can also serve as a ritual that signals it’s time to sleep.
5. Set an alarm for bed. An alarm for bed? Happy Habits crusader Gretchen Rubin swears by it! Set your alarm to 30 minutes before you want to be asleep so you can unwind, relax and prepare your your rest. After a few weeks, your new habit will be on autopilot and become an easy part of your daily life.
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