​The Power of Sleep

18 May 2020

By Claire Ashley

​The Power of Sleep

Sleep is a vital part of being restorative and recharging for the body and is crucial for wellbeing. It is the greatest enhancer of physical and cognitive health and performance, and we need sleep to be productive, energetic and healthy when we are awake.

In these uncertain times many people are struggling with getting the recommended seven to nine hours each night. This then plays havoc with daily routines and our ability to tackle the day ahead. Not getting enough sleep also compromises our immune system, which we all need to be on top form right now.

There are many theories around the body’s circadian rhythm, and the different sleep modes including the differences around non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM). Sleep modes include drowsiness, light sleep, moderate to deep sleep, deepest sleep, and dreaming. All of these lead to having a self-help checklist of what to do if you find it difficult to get to sleep, or indeed to try to get back to sleep at that dreaded 3am wake up. These are some reminders we wanted to share:

Exercise

As well as the obvious health benefits, as well as being a great stress reliever, exercise also plays a key role in how well we sleep. Exercise can help us fall asleep faster and improve sleep – half an hour of exercise each day really does help.

A Good Soak

We found that a warm bath, for as little as 10 minutes can significantly improve overall sleep efficiency. In other words, a warm bath led to more time spent in actual sleep rather than turning or tossing and trying to fall asleep, compared to usual sleep without taking bath. Adding Magnesium flakes or Epsom Salts to your bath will also really help relax you ahead of a good night’s sleep.

Read – but make sure it is an Actual Book

Swap the blue lights of IPads and phones and go tech and news free. Reading is a great way to prepare for sleep—as long as you aren’t diving into a gripping page-turner that's overly stimulating.

Drink More Water and No Caffeine after 2pm

Going to bed even mildly dehydrated can disrupt your sleep. Dehydration causes your mouth and nasal passages to become dry, setting you up for sleep-disruptive snoring and a parched throat and hoarseness in the morning.

Best to avoid any caffeine after 2pm if you want to sleep through – a herbal tea before bed can really help as a soothing night time ritual.

Eat Properly

For your best night's sleep, strive to eat a balanced diet that emphasizes fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat proteins that are rich in B vitamins, like fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy. B vitamins may help to regulate melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep cycles.

And Breathe ……

Yoga devotees swear by the power of breath for its ability to calm the mind and body. You can make it as simple as slowing your breath, inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling completely through your mouth. Consciously relax your facial muscles, let them drop and focus on nothing for ten seconds…

We hope one of these tips might help you to have a better night’s sleep if you are struggling.

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