Did you know, two thirds of adults do not get the recommended eight hours of sleep at night? There are several potential health risks that can arise from sleeping less than six or seven hours and one of the biggest negative side effects is on your mood and mental wellbeing. This means, it could be possible that two thirds of us may be battling difficult emotions or mental distress that could be drastically eased by getting a little more shut eye.
If you have been feeling down, sluggish, anxious or depressed lately now the perfect time to prioritise your quality of sleep. These feelings can come about when our brain is overworked without rest. Like when you exercise, you need to allow a rest period for those muscles to repair and continue to work optimally, it’s the same with your brain. A sleep deprived brain promotes excessive mood swings that can bring along feelings of worthlessness or depression, risk taking, poor decision making and even anxiety.
What are some simple ways to start improving your sleep!
Get plenty of sunlight during the day! This not only improves daytime energy, but nighttime sleep quality and duration too.
Don’t consume coffee late in the day. Caffeine is a great way to get up and going in the morning, but it stays in our system longer than you think. Be mindful not to consume caffeine up to 6 hours before bed.
Avoid long daytime naps. This can confuse your internal clock, meaning that you may struggle to sleep at night.
Find a routine. Speaking of that internal clock, your body’s circadian rhythm aligns itself with sunrise and sun set but adapts to when you go to bed and wake up. Find a routine you can be consistent with, and you’ll notice the long-term improvements on sleep quality.
Avoid alcohol. We know, but hear us out! Instead of having a glass of wine every night, start switching to every other night or only on weekends. Drinking too regularly will negatively alter your sleep and increase symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns.
Have everything ‘just right’. Optimise your bedroom environment by regulating the temperature, reducing noise and light, furniture arrangement or just keeping your bedroom clean. You want your bedroom to be a quiet, relaxing, clean, and enjoyable space.
Avoid late night snacks. Try eating at least 4 hours before going to bed for better sleep.
Relax. Might seem obvious but very few of us actually do this. Relaxing music, a good book, deep breathing, a bath and mediation/visualization are all perfect strategies you can use. You could even download apps like ‘Calm’ or ‘Headspace’ for some ideas.