Creating good sleeping habits
HOW many hours of sleep do you get each night?
Sleep is essential to our health.
It refreshes the mind, repairs the body and enables us to effectively tackle the day ahead.
The average adult generally needs around seven to eight hours each night, but this can be hard to achieve for some.
A lack of sleep can cause fatigue, poor concentration and memory, and leave us feeling grumpy or agitated.
What's worse, studies show poor sleep can increase our risk for disease later in life, like heart disease or diabetes.
Sleep can be tricky to manage.
However, there are a few tips you could try to maximise your sleep quality and improve your sleeping habits:
Don't take sleep for granted. Make sure you set a bed time to allow yourself enough time to get your seven to eight hours each night.
Work backward from when your alarm will go off.
Get into a regular sleeping pattern. Try to get to bed and wake up at the same time each day (even on weekends) so that your body clock builds a strong sleep-wake cycle.
Get comfortable. Minimise light, reduce noise, make sure you're not too hot or cold and ensure you have a comfy bed and pillow. We spend up to a third of our lives in bed, so make sure it's comfy.
Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Lying in bed, breathe in to a count of four, hold your breath for seven seconds, then breath out to a count of eight, and repeat.
This controlled, mindful breathing is a great way to switch the brain off and get you ready to sleep, especially if you practise it every time you go to bed.
Limit alcohol before bed. Alcohol can help get you to sleep but it stops you getting a good quality sleep that you need for full recovery.
Steer clear from stimulating activities before bed. Avoid having a large meal, caffeine, too much TV or phone time, or doing strenuous physical activity (within two hours of sleep). Instead, wind down with a good book or a warm shower.
Why not focus on just one or two of the tips above and see how your sleep improves?