Seven, eight or ten? When it comes to how many hours sleep each of us needs to feel rested, we’re all different. If we don’t get enough good quality sleep for long enough, a multitude of problems can show up fairly swiftly, including poor concentration, memory lapses, irritability, fatigue, dull skin, weight gain – the list goes on. In fact there’s not much a good night’s sleep can’t fix.
Become a creature of habit
Rhythm and routine are essential to a good night’s sleep.
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day will help you establish a sleep routine and make the hours that you do sleep more productive. If you have to work unsociable hours, keep as regular a routine as possible in your sleeping and eating habits to help lessen some of the negative effects.
Look to the light
Your body clock takes its cues from light exposure. During the day, light exposure causes the master clock to send signals that generate alertness and help keep us awake and active. As night falls, the master clock initiates the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep, and it continues to transmit signals through the night to help us stay asleep.
Natural sunlight and or bright light during the day helps to improve daytime energy and night-time sleep quality and duration. One study found that two hours of bright light exposure during the day can increase sleep duration by two hours and improve sleep efficiency by 80% . If it’s not practical to spend time outdoors, a natural light box inside can also help.
Reduce blue light exposure
Disconnect from the outside world at least one hour before bedtime and keep all electronic devices, including mobile phones, out of your bedroom. The blue light that phones and tablets emit inhibit melatonin, and this can cause insomnia.
Magnesium for sleep
Make sure you’re getting enough magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that is needed for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body: we need heaps of it! It has a role to play in nerve and muscle function and energy production, and it helps keep our bones, glucose levels and immune system healthy. It is also important for maintaining energy and aiding sleep.
A magnesium supplement can help to keep levels topped up as can a relaxing magnesium bath shortly before bedtime; plus the bath itself will help you to unwind.Try BetterYou Magnesium Flakes . Simply add 250g of flakes to your bath water, lie back and relax for 20 minutes.
It’s easily done! Lavender is a naturally sleep-supportive herb so if you’re having trouble sleeping, try spraying your pillow with Absolute Aromas' Lavender Natural Room Spray before bedtime, or dabbing a little lavender on your wrists, temples or neck. We love Absolute Aromas’ Goodnight Roll On . It combines relaxing lavender, vetiver, chamomile, ylang ylang and bergamot to help soothe the senses.
Wind down with Pukka
Nothing beats a relaxing warm drink before bedtime and if there’s one thing Pukka does well, it’s tea – caffeine-free before bedtime, of course! Try their caffeine-free Pukka Night Time Organic Tea , a comforting combination of oat flower, soothing lavender and silky-sweet limeflower and valerian. It’s perfect for easing restlessness and relaxing tension at the end of a stressful day.