"Sleep is the best meditation..."
We're living in a time where energy is overconsumed, and rest is undervalued. For some of us the thought of slowing down is a sign of weakness or being unproductive. The truth is that slowing down and prioritizing sleep can actually boost your health and productivity in the long run! 📈
The average adult should aim to get between 7-9 hours of sleep. The benefits of being well rested and getting regular good sleep are:
- Improved immune function
- Reduced Chronic disease (or risk of developing one)
- Improved hormone functioning (including stress and hunger hormones)
- Improved Brain health (your brain flushes out toxins during sleep)
- Due to all the above improved mood & decision making
If you're not sleeping well, no need to worry, you can always work on improving your sleeping patterns. Here are some tips to improve the quality and length of your sleep:
1. Light Exposure - mimic natures light patterns ☀️🌙
- When you wake up within 30 mins your cortisol levels are at it's peak, this regulates the rest of your hormones including your melatonin production for the rest of the day. Try to get sun exposure upon rising to optimize this, open a window or step outside for a few minutes before beginning your morning routine.
- Post sunset sit in dimmer lights (this will allow your body to be in synch with it's natural circadian rhythm)
- The light from electronic screens also interfere with your circadian rhythm, so apply blue light filter settings to your phones & TV screens post sunset
- Try to sleep in complete darkness
2. Early Dinners 🍴
- Have your last meal at least 4 hours before going to bed, this allows your blood sugar level to come down and will help you get deeper sleep. This also allows your body to focus on immune function rather than digestion during your sleep. If you're someone that doesn't like to sleep hungry have a small snack 2 hours before bed (ideally something small and higher in fat than sugars)
3. Look into your Caffeine/alcohol/nicotine intake ☕
- Caffeine will elevate your cortisol levels, and if they're too high at night time it will affect your ability to sleep. Try to keep your caffeine intake low - ideally anytime 1 hour after waking up until midday)
- If you consume alcohol you may feel like it helps you sleep, but it actually affects your body's ability to enter the "deep sleep" part of your sleep cycle. If you sleep daily without experiencing "deep sleep" your body is never fully rested. This also affects all the benefits you should be getting from your sleep and could be affecting your overall health. Try to have at least a few nights of the week without alochol to improve your sleep quality.
- Nicotine also affects your cortisol levels and therefore will affect your natural circadian rhythm and ability to sleep deeply.
You may not be able to apply all these tips and that's okay! Even making one small change can make a huge different to your sleep and health 💚 Wishing you all a great week ahead and the sweetest dreams!