Most of us spend almost an hour each morning getting ourselves ready to start the day - yet hardly give a second thought as to how we should prepare ourselves for the end of the day.
Health experts say that good quality sleep is essential for healthy brain function, emotional wellbeing and physical health.
Not sleeping enough or disturbed sleeping has been linked to anxiety, depression, and risk-taking behavior. It can also lead to poor health. Which is why New Zealand’s National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 - 9 hours of sleep a night for adults.
So what are some self-care sleep hacks to ensure you get the proper rest you deserve? Follow these simple tips to give your body the best start to the end of the day.
- Don’t let pets sleep on your bed. Not only do they gradually make their way to the best spot, they can be noisy snorers and dreamers too!
- Block out those noisy, early-morning Tuis, traffic and neighbours by wearing ear plugs
- Remove distractions like televisions, computers and mobile phones from the room
- Ensure your bedroom is quiet and dark, and that the room temperature is comfortable, with the ideal being around 18 degrees centigrade.
- Wear a padded eye-mask - preferably made from a gentle fabric such as silk - to stop light creeping in
- Use blackout curtains to block out street lamps or early morning sunlight
- Power down for the last hour before you turn in. Reading, listening to relaxing music, thinking grateful thoughts, or taking a warm bath can all help calm the mind and prep the body for rest.
- Avoid taking nana naps during the day. This can confuse your body clock.
- Avoid eating and drinking late; allow 2 -3 hours before you turn in, otherwise indigestion may disturb your sleep or a late night trip to the bathroom to relieve a full bladder
- Stick to routine. Aim to go to bed and get up around the same time each day - even on weekends. This aids your body’s natural circadian rhythm function, which should align with sunrise and sunset.
- Pick your bedding material carefully. If you tend to get warm and sweaty at night, look for a natural fabric that will thermoregulate with your own body temperature (like Mulberry silk).
- Choose nightwear that is soft and kind to the skin. Avoid nightwear with buttons and zips, or any other detail that could cause discomfort or irritation.
- Consider a silk pillowcase as they absorb less moisture (than cotton, linen or satin) and therefore do not stay cold and damp during the night. Silk is also hypoallergenic, which means a natural resistance to dust mites, fungus and mould.
And if you do wake in the night ...
- Avoid watching the clock or remaining in bed if you’re fighting sleep. Instead, go into another room, practice some deep breathing or read for 20 minutes before heading back to bed. This simple act of re-entering the bedroom triggers the mind into sleep mode again.
- Slow your breathing, relax your facial muscles and your entire body, starting with your neck, shoulders, and right through to your toes. Then picture yourself lying on a blanket, in a canoe, on a calm, clear lake with a beautiful deep blue sky above you.
- Listen to a bedtime story, via an app (such as “Calm”) or a podcast.
So if you want to take optimal care of yourself, make your bedtime routine a priority and set yourself up for a lifetime of successful snoozing.
Useful Sleep Resources: