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Sleep Well: 5 ways to prepare yourself for a tranquil night time

Updated: Jun 11

We all know that recommendation of 7-9 hours of interrupted sleep each night is important for our healthy body and mind. Yet, how often this actually happens? Or, if it so happens that we get to spend these hours in bed, more often than not, we find ourselves restless, or still tired, with no energy during the day. It is a topic, that many of us can't escape, as studies show that 1 in 3 people struggle with insomnia.

When you don't get good sleep during the night, you are less motivated to move, eat well, or even be kind to yourself and others. Your stress level is much higher, and patience and ability to cope with stressors much lower. Basically, when we are tired, the whole life is affected. And there is no surprise; the sleep is an important factor in our body's survival, and is the 2nd one after breath that we can't live without. Let me explain... our body, in extreme conditions can go without food for a month, half of this time without water, but only few days without sleep.

But, what is the reason so many people this day and age suffer with such a basic human need? We are constantly surrounded by artificial lights, electronics, electromagnetic fields, late dinners, too much caffeine or sugar intake and not enough fresh air.

Have you ever woke up feeling so great, you just knew there is literally nothing that can happen to destroy your shine today? Yes, this is what good night sleep does to your body and mind! When your body and mind is rested, you tend to see the world differently. It's like looking at the world through the pair of pink glasses. You see the world as more kind, supportive and full of opportunities. You have the energy to go that extra mile to do something good. During sleep the important processes take place like recovery of your muscles, tissue repair, toxin removal, blood sugar regulation. Good sleep increases leptin, an appetite suppressant, and decreases ghrelin, an appetite stimulant, which means you eat better, crave less sugary foods and your appetite is working as it should. We can notice ourselves be more focused and concentrated, which means we can actually listen more to people around us, and also become more perceptive of our own body and thoughts. We can be more productive, but also deal with our emotions better. Simply, because good restful night sleep makes us happy.

Does it sound like something you want more of in your life? I'm sure you do! Well, let's look at 5 stressors that disturbs your good night sleep, and what slight adjustment can you make in your day or bedtime routine, to get your beauty sleep back on track!

#1 - Artificial Light and Electronics

Our body operates on a circadian rhythm (24-hour clock). Phones, lamps and tvs messes with our daily rhythm, they are sending signals to the brain whether it is bed time yet. Light is more than just brightness, it is our brain cue that sets our sleep routine.

What can you do about this?

Create a bedroom that is cool, dark and quiet. Slightly cooler bedroom temperature will facilitate the body's natural drop in core temperature, which aids sleep. I found putting my phone away an hour before bedtime work magic for my brain activity. Instead, I reach out to read a book or write in my journal, releasing my thoughts on paper as well as bringing up the gratitude. Also, if you are anything like me and are very sensitive to light, I would recommend buying an eye mask. Eye masks can create a sense of relaxation by blocking out visual stimuli and promoting a calm, peaceful atmosphere. This can help reduce stress and anxiety levels, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Also, darkness stimulates the production of melatonin, so wearing an eye mask can help boost melatonin levels, leading to better sleep initiation and maintenance! Here's an eye mask I recommend for under £5! (no affiliate, just recommendation)

#2 - Food and Sugar

Consuming food close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep patterns. Digesting food requires energy, and your body may struggle to relax and enter a restful sleep state if it's still actively digesting a meal. It can lead to digestive discomfort, such as indigestion, acid reflux, or bloating. Eating too close to bedtime can cause spikes in blood sugar levels and disrupt your body's natural hormone cycles.

What can you do about this?

Plan your final meal at least 2-3 hours before your bed time. Going to bed on an empty stomach or with minimal food in your system will lead to more restful sleep. Lying down on your left side for 10 minutes after meal will help your body to facilitate the movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine because the stomach is located on the left side of the body. Eating earlier in the evening helps maintain a healthier hormonal balance, which can support overall health and well-being.

“The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night's sleep.”

#3 - Alcohol, Caffeine and Nicotine

Is it a surprise that alcohol is actually one of the biggest sleep disturbances? While it helps you to relax and fall asleep quicker, it leads to much lighter and restless sleep during the night. No surprise then, when day after alcohol consumption, you wake up tired and have no motivation to do anything. Whilst caffeine is great to wake us up in the morning, it plays a big role in restless sleep. This is because of half-life of caffeine. For the body to eliminate half of the caffeine consumed, it typically takes around 3 to 7 hours. Nicotine is a stimulant that can cause users to have lighter sleep during the night and wake up too early because the body is going through nicotine withdrawal.

What can you do about this?

It's best to be mindful of how alcohol, caffeine and nicotine is affecting your body and quality of sleep. Stick to coffee and caffeinated beverages like soft drinks and some tea during the first half of the day. Drink plenty of water and have a healthy diet to help to metabolise and eliminate both caffeine and alcohol from the body. And, quit smoking (Sorry, not sorry!)

#4 - Stress Management

Effectively managing stress during the day is crucial for ensuring quality sleep at night, as stressors experienced throughout the day can significantly impact sleep patterns and creative brain activity just before bedtime. Just before bed, we are tend to to analyse and go through situations that happened throughout the day. Common stressors such as work pressures, relationship difficulties, financial concerns, and daily responsibilities can contribute to heightened levels of anxiety and tension, making it difficult to unwind and relax come bedtime.

What can you do about this?

Engaging in regular physical activity, such as yoga, walking, or jogging, can help reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. Additionally, practicing mindfulness, meditation and breathing techniques can help calm the mind, alleviate anxiety, and improve overall emotional well-being. Establishing healthy boundaries, prioritising self-care, and seeking support from friends, family, or mental health professionals when needed are also important strategies for managing stress effectively throughout the day, ultimately contributing to better sleep quality and overall well-being.

#5 - Breathing

We often find ourselves in environments with limited access to fresh air and oxygen, whether due to indoor air pollution, urban congestion, or other factors. Emma Ferris, a physiotherapist and breathing coach, says 80% of the population have a breathing dysfunction and have developed poor techniques throughout the years. Insufficient oxygen intake and poor air quality can negatively impact our health and well-being, leading to feelings of fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and even exacerbating respiratory issues.

What can you do about this?

Breathe through the nose, not through your mouth. And... engage your belly when breathing! Focusing on your breath and practicing deep breathing techniques before sleep can help increase oxygen intake, promote relaxation, and enhance overall sleep quality.

Two recommended techniques include diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing, where you focus on expanding your abdomen as you inhale deeply through your nose, and 4-7-8 breathing, which involves inhaling for a count of four, holding the breath for a count of seven, and exhaling slowly for a count of eight. Both of these techniques can help calm the mind, reduce stress, and prepare the body for restful sleep, ensuring a rejuvenating and refreshing night's rest.

Now, you know the 5 stressors that disturbs your good night sleep, and what adjustment you make in your lifestyle to, not only improve your beauty sleep, but also to change your life! Let me know if you found this useful. And, I sure will create more educational posts like this in the future.

With love

Sylwia x

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