Regular sleep, healthly future

Regular sleep, healthly future

19 March 2021

On 19 March we celebrate World Sleep Day. This year is focused around promoting regular sleep for a healthy future.

We all know sleep is important. It not only rests the body, allowing us to repair and recover, but helps integrate the learnings from the day into our long-term memory. Regular sleep, with stable bedtimes and rise times, is also essential to your physical health and emotional wellbeing. A lack of sufficient quality or duration of sleep can impair learning, as well as challenges our ability to pay attention during the day and may contribute to feelings of anger and irritability being triggered more easily.

To help work towards achieving healthy sleep, we have put together a few recommendations, based on the World Sleep Society, for you to follow. 

Set a fixed bedtime and waking time

Try to develop a regular sleep routine that encourages you to keep the same bedtime. Keeping a consistent sleep and wake up time each day allows your body to regulate your energy and develop a healthy routine.  If you are unable to fall asleep after 15-30 minutes, engage in an activity that is not overly stimulating like reading.

Avoid alcohol and smoking

While many people believe alcohol can have a relaxing effect, it can often be obstructive to allowing your brain to fully relax and engage in deep sleep. To get a better night sleep, try to avoid excessive alcohol ingestion and smoking four hours before bedtime. 

Avoid caffeine and think about your diet

We are all aware of the impact of caffeine on our sleep cycle, which is why it has been recommended to avoid caffeine for about four to six hours before sleep. But have you considered the impacts of when you eat? Going to bed too hungry or too full can interrupt your sleep as your body actively digests your food.

Reserve the bed for sleep and sex

When creating your bedtime routine, it’s important to provide your body with signposts that it can start to relax and prepare for bed. When your bed is also your office, workroom or recreation room, it can be difficult to signal to your body that it is nearing time to switch off. Sleep is supposed to rest the body and allow us to repair and recover from the day, not be reminded of any physical challenges we faced.

Create a comfortable sleep environment

The ideal sleep environment often involves ensuring your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet. Consider all your senses to ensure a comfortable space:

  • Touch: Invest in an appropriate mattress, sheets and pillows.
  • Smell: The use of lavender or calming scents can be helpful.
  • Taste: Ensure you have a neutral taste in your mouth and are not stimulating your salivary glands with overwhelming tastes.
  • Sound: Create a quite space, invest in ear plugs if your bed partner snores or play low level music (or white noise) to manage tinnitus.
  • Sight: Dark spaces often improve rooms, if you are prone to becoming disoriented on waking, a soft light out of view can be helpful.

Turn off your devices

Try to block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible – this means minimizing the use of your phone! We are all guilty of passing time on our devices whether it is a phone, tablet, computer or TV. Some research suggests that the specific spectrum of light coming from these devices can inhibit your brain from releasing the right chemicals for sleep. Allow your brain the opportunity to switch off in a healthy way and avoid technology prior to bed.

As sleep is essential to your physical health and emotional wellbeing, it’s important to take steps to ensure you are getting a good night sleep. If you are experiencing difficulties with your sleep, please call 1300 462 837 to book an appointment with a Mates4Mates psychologist.

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