“Your future depends on your dreams – so go to sleep”
Well, if you are anything like me, you know why sleep is important. You know that you don’t function properly when you haven’t had enough. The brain is foggy, the body is sluggish and the mood is quick to sour.
Most noticeably, sleep is important for mental health. Good sleep levels enhance creativity, ingenuity, confidence, leadership and decision making. Basically it helps to make your mood stable. You are more like you when you get enough sleep.
What happens to your mindset when you don’t get enough sleep? The Great British Sleep Survey found that poor sleepers are 7 times more likely to feel helpless and 5 times more likely to feel alone.
Sleep is also important to keep your body working the way it should. Optimal levels of sleep help all the other functions of the body to be in tune with each other which assists with cell repair, metabolism, good hormone health and so much more!
Are you struggling to sleep?
Everyone is different, but a good rule of thumb is 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep. Many of us can be in bed for that long but aren’t actually getting a good sleep. Other people wonder how anyone has time for 7 hours in bed! Life can feel very busy and it can seem impossible to prioritise that much rest.
Once you’re past your 40’s perimenopause and menopause can start to wreak havoc with your sleep patterns. Dropping estrogen will contribute to night sweats. Plus, fluctuating levels of both estrogen and progesterone will affect serotonin levels, and sleep. And, due to increased stress levels around this time, there is more to keep you up at night with the mind churning, planning and worrying.
You can start to take charge of your sleep. Here is a list of how to improve your sleep patterns and your quality of life!
Top tips for terrific sleep
- Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep – it is dark enough, it is quiet, it is cool and do you have quality bedding like a supportive mattress and a high grade pillow?
- Get regular exercise and make it earlier in the day so that the body can have a chance to relax before bed.
- Set a bed time alarm for about 30 minutes before you want to go to sleep (count backwards from when you have to wake up). This is a good reminder to start getting yourself ready for bed.
- Eat well to sleep well. Eat smaller meals in the evening. Reduce caffeine, sugar and other stimulants after mid-afternoon. Keeping a control on your weight will facilitate a better sleep.
- Minimise alcohol before bed. Although it may seem to help you sleep it means you are more likely to wake in the night.
- Don’t consume too much liquid before bed to stamp out the need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
- Put on some soothing music and try this gentle stretching routine to get you ready for bed.
- Try stress reduction techniques – meditation, gentle yoga, a yoga nidra* app. If you are very stressed the support of a health coach or even a psychologist can help to reduce anxious thoughts that lead to insomnia.
- Take short naps where you can to help you catch up.
- Get some gorgeous PJs and put them on just before bed time to signify it’s time to sleep.
- Essential oils such as lavender can help with getting to sleep.
- If you have tried many of these and have had no luck then speak to your GP. Occasionally an underlying medical condition can impact your sleep quality.
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