It’s one of life’s simple pleasures- getting into your comfy bed, having a cracking night sleep and waking up in the morning feeling fresh, ready to tackle the world. But for so many people this is just a dream – a dream that is constantly disrupted by poor sleep patterns and light sleep.
When life was created back in the day, we were told that we should sleep for 8hrs – that’s 1/3 of the day, and for good reason. Unfortunately, for most people life got a little stressful and sleep got left behind. You need to get your bed back on the bandwagon. Your body goes through two stages of repair each night; we get our physical recovery between 10pm and 2am and our psychological repair and nervous system recovery between 2am and 6am. If you’re regularly getting to bed at 12am, you’re missing out on two hours of your physical recovery. When we abuse our sleep times on a regular basis we put the body under SERIOUS stress, which can lead to multiple issues including hormonal imbalances, weight gain, a weakened immune system and adrenal fatigue- just to name a few.
Our bodies need stability in all areas, not just sleep. Becoming a sleeping beauty will go a long way to getting the body you want and the health you need. Here is how:
1) Electrical goods aren’t so good
Having a bedroom that is set up more like an entertainment centre will affect your sleep- MASSIVELY. Researchers have now told us that electromagnetic fields from (TVs, radio clocks, computers, stereos) are the single biggest factor in poor sleep. Not only will these electronics cause poor sleep patterns, they can also cause major health issues. When you are in a deep sleep your body relaxes and you are 150 times more open to damage from EMF’s (Electro- magnetic fields).
Sugar and alcohol both play a massive role in your sleep. Alcohol CAN help you get to sleep but the chances are you’ll wake up (consciously or unconsciously) later in the night when your blood sugar levels drop and you’ll find yourself tossing and turning from the sugar.
There is a time and a place for entertainment, late at night (especially a ‘school night’) isn’t the time. Entertainment late at night will cause a spike in your cortisol levels (your stress hormone) which will make it harder to get to sleep. In an ideal world, you want to be REDUCING your cortisol from around 5pm onwards to make sure you are relaxed in time for bed.
4) Unwind the mind
If you have a thousand thoughts running through your head late at night it’s unlikely you’ll just switch off, hit the hay and fall asleep. MOST things can wait till tomorrow so carry a journal/diary with you and write them down so they aren’t stuck in your head running around while you’re trying to sleep.
5) Stacks of relaxin’
As the sun goes down you need to make sure you are relaxin’…. To get the best sleep possible you need to be reducing the cortisol levels (stress hormone) in your body and increase melatonin (sleep hormone). Here are a few ideas:
- A hot relaxing bath (with Epsom salts)
- Turn down the lights
- A massage (if you can convince your partner to give you one you’ve got yourself a ‘keeper’)
– Deep breathing exercises
- Chill out music (I love a bit of Jacky Johnson at night)
- Reading (but no intense thrillers that are you going to have you sweating with anticipation)
6) Create a bedtime ritual
There is nothing quite like a little stability to help you sleep – so do the same thing each night. I’ve had clients who would sleep 3 HOURS a night – so we created a ‘preparation phase’ for them in which they would have the same little routine every night before bed. I remember when mum used to say “Blake Home and Away finishes in 5 minutes then it’s teeth, toilet and bed” – she was clearly smarter than I gave her credit for. A routine is critical.
7) Go hard but not before you go to bed
Exercise is critical for a good night sleep. There’s a massive difference in the quality of someone’s sleep who is training on a daily basis as opposed to someone that doesn’t train. But here is a little factor for you. If you do have trouble sleeping, make sure you don’t train at night. Training at night will increase your cortisol which can make it harder to sleep. So get up and get going early in the morning.
Try it for the next month. Try sleeping between 10pm and 6am Monday to Friday with a little bit of room to move on the weekends. If you dont feel better after a month call me and I’ll personally drive to your house, sit on the end of your bed and sing lullabies until you fall asleep.