It’s one of the most important things that our body needs to function.
When most of us think of sleep we believe it’s a time where our body shuts down and our minds are at rest. This is certainly not the case! Sleep is quite an active period where a lot of processing, restoration and strengthening occurs… and if you’re like me… some pretty crazy dreams.
Sleep has always been something that is a mystery and is still baffling scientists around the world. They do know and understand however, some of sleep’s critical functions and the reasons why we need it for optimal health and wellbeing and … sanity…
Sleeping believe it or not is super important to help us consolidate and solidify our memories. We learn and cram so much into our heads during the day and sleeping helps process, log and record this information to be stored in the long run. Overnight, bits and pieces of information are transferred from more tentative, short-term memory to stronger, long-term memory. This process of changing from short-term to long-term is called “Consolidation”.
After a good sleep it has been shown that people tend to retain information and perform better on memory tasks. A solid night’s sleep is also required to restore and rejuvenate, grow muscle, repair tissue and synthesize hormones.
It doesn’t matter who you are, a healthy amount of sleep is critical for everyone as we all need to retain information and learn skills to move forward in life. This is most likely the reason why younger children need more sleep than adults.
Adults need roughly 7-9 hours of sleep per night, one-year olds need roughly 11-14 hours, school age children between 9 and 11 hours and teenagers between 8 and 10 hours. This of course will always be interrupted due to the curve balls that life throws at us.
It is best to keep to a consistent and healthy routine to ensure all of us, regardless of age, will thrive in our day to day life. Unfortunately we cannot pay back “sleep debt”. Although, this is always a good idea when you’re sleep deprived.
Sleep deprivation is not a good idea people! So please take care of yourselves and realise that it’s not cool to be running on empty. A lot of people boast about how busy they are and how they are still going on, “Like, 2 hours sleep man. Totes’ need a coffee hey…!”
Sure. There are moments where you can’t help it. Our lives are so unpredictable but remember everyone… we are only human!
Some helpful tips for a better nights sleep.
Now, I will be the first to say that I am no master in the art of sleeping and I am not a professional in this field. So if these tips don’t work for you, try coming up with some that work for you. We’re all very different and there isn’t a solid answer for most things health related.
There is no harm in trying, so here goes.
- Eliminate all light that is in your room. I find I always sleep better when it is pitch black. This includes “blue light” which is Televisions, computers and iPhone etc. Yes. For the love of all things sleepy… turn your phones off! That brings me to my next point…
- Don’t have your phone in your room whilst you are sleeping. Sure there are health benefits for this. Radiation blah blah blah, but for me it is more of a mental thing. Switch it on Airplane mode, put it outside and forget about the emails that need responding to. This tip also helps you to avoid answering any late night messages and phone calls from your friends that are out partying.
- Alarm on your phone? Good! This will actually make you awake, walk outside and turn your alarm off and not just on snooze.
- Keep your bedroom for sleeping and…* cough* other things, wink wink… There should be no such thing as a combined office and bedroom.
What if you live in a studio apartment? Take some time to really designate an area to JUST SLEEPING and *wink*. Put up some dividers and really make it your sacred spot.
- Keep napping to a minimum. If you need to nap during the day keep it short and sweet! 20mins is usually very helpful. Unless you’ve pulled an all nighter… you rebel…
- Keep the design of your bedroom very simple and minimal. Sleeping in a cluttered room will only distract your mind. For example, you’re lying in bed and look over at that book that you haven’t yet read… that’s all you can think about for the next half an hour.
“Argh! I have to start reading that. I haven’t read a book in ages and I feel terrible for not doing so. Does this mean I am losing all intellect? Oh look at that shirt next to my unread book… that would go so well with those jeans I purchased online today.”
Seriously… keep your room BARE! I love this for some minimalism inspiration. Although, with a few more personal touches to make it more comfortable and knowing me… it would probably be a mess…
- Back pain? Sure, mild low back pain may not wake you but it can disrupt the flow of your sleep. Try adding a pillow in between your legs for better alignment of the hips which reduces the stress on your lower back.
- Invest in a good bed and pillow. The end.
- Try and cut out or cut down on your caffeine intake. It’s hard I know people… BUT YOU CAN DO IT! *two thumbs up*
- Regular exercise is important. I am a huge believer in this however; aim to finish any vigorous exercise 3-4 hours before you hit they hay. You can exercise lightly though. Try some meditation, Tai chi or yoga. This is the perfect, non-alcoholic night cap.
- Avoid heavy foods and big meals late in the day; they are super taxing on your digestive system and make it hard to get some quality shut eye. Try and keep dinner nice and light. Cheese dreams anyone?
- Lower those lights! Start lowering the lights and switching off around 2-3 hours before bedtime. Dim the lights around the house and put aside any complicated decisions. Just had an argument? It’s best to talk through it before bedtime. You do not want to go to sleep raging with anger and frustration! This is the worst thing for your internal organs and soul. Go to sleep with a clear mind.
- Drain out all noise that can interrupt your slumber especially if you are a light sleeper. Try ear plugs or drain out those unexpected bangs in the night with a fan or the air conditioner. Although, I hate sleeping with the air conditioner on.
- So you’re a smoker? THEN STOP! QUIT! Simple. If you’re really struggling to give up the chemical stick then definitely avoid smoking 5 hours before bed. That being said. JUST QUIT SMOKING!
Feeling like something else besides these tips?
Try this smoothie before bed time! It tastes amazing and it’s like giving your inside organs all an individual cuddle. Cuddles and sleeping… the best things in life!
- 1/2 cup oat milk
- 1 Tbsp flax seeds
- 1/2 fresh banana (peeled)
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp honey (omit on a sugar free diet) or use Rice Malt Syrup
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch Himalayan sea salt
- Put all the ingredients into the Vitamix 2L container in the order listed and secure the lid.
- Select Variable 1. Turn the machine on and quickly increase the speed to 10, then override to High.
- Use the tamper to effectively press the ingredients into the blades whilst processing.
- Blend for 45-60 seconds or until smooth and slightly warm.
- Stop the machine and serve
Now these are just a few tips to get the ball rolling. What are your handy tips on sleeping well?