The need for sleep can be overwhelming, particularly after a few days of tossing and turning - it can feel as if you’ve been on a long haul flight without the benefit of arriving at that sunny destination..
That is the worst feeling, particularly because it feels like time wasted. It can be so upsetting to spend those hours of constantly looking at the alarm clock, watching the hours tick by. Our backs end up hurting, and our minds are more active than ever.
However it is not only frustrating mentally, it has been proven that it is bad for our physical health not to sleep. According to leading neuroscientist and sleep expert Mathew Walker, adults aged 45 and over who sleep less than six hours a night, are 200% more likely to develop a heart attack or a stroke within their lifetime, compared to those who sleep seven plus hours a night. That’s no joke! Sleep deprivation is officially classified as anything less than seven hours sleep! Not only this but sleep deprivation, can affect our cancer-fighting immune cells, and lack of sleep during an adult lifespan raises the risk of Alzheimer’s.
It is interesting to note that both Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, were very open about how little they slept, both went on to develop Alzheimer’s. According to Walker lack of sleep can even lead to weight gain - this is not good news at all!
There is lots of advice out there on how to keep good sleep practices and we have assembled our favourites. Of course our key suggestion is wearing Homebody pj’s to bed but in addition, find some time to test out which of the following work best for you.
It’s not about trying every single one, but more about finding practical solutions that fit with your day-to-day life and work for you.
Many people, who have trouble sleeping don’t want to hear about switching off their computer/ iPad in bed, but this is an important way of helping us detox from outside influences. Closing the laptop at least a half hour before sleep, has been proven to really help - set your alarm clock for thirty minutes pre bed, to remind you to switch off all wi fi related bits, and if possible even remove them from the bedroom (the effect of LED emitting devises on melatonin, (the sleep inducing hormone) can be quite harmful, further preventing sleep.
Try not to take a nap during the day. This is a bad habit and if you do need a little snooze, perhaps just once a week on the weekend, and then only for a maximum of an hour. The problem is, our bodies function best with good daily habits and once you start to nap in the day, invariably it will reduce your nighttime sleep. Try to resist shutting your eyes, even if you didn’t sleep the night before, as all you are doing is perpetuating bad habits that need to stop. It’s like getting up in the middle of the night to pee - you can condition your body to ignore the desire, it’s mind over bladder!
Introduce a regular bedtime everyday. Having a hot bath prior to bed helps the relaxation to begin. Taking a lovely long leisurely bath just isn’t the same as a shower. A shower is great; no doubt about it, but a nighttime bath allows the body to relax and the mind to wonder. That twenty minutes is yours to pamper. What a treat!!
Improving your sleep environment
Keep the lights switched off in your bedroom - Walker says ‘light is a profound degrader of our sleep’. Blackout blinds or curtains really do help to get a heavy sleep and leaves you unaware of the time of day.
Try a little stretch before bed, just a few exercises can really help the body unwind and allow you to connect with your body. Reaching arms into the air for five, touching toes for five, twisting body from one side to the other on the floor. Choose a few exercises that should not take more than five minutes to do on your own; that work for you and will help keep your back relaxed for bed.
Mind, body, relax
To allow the body and mind to gently calm down, find a quiet place alone sit, or lie in a comfortable position and concentrate on deep breathing. Allow the mind to concentrate on releasing tension from each part of the body, while breathing deeply and slowly. To begin, focus on the breath and then turn attention towards any part of the body that is holding tension - from the neck down to the toes. Take as long as you need but even just five minutes quiet time will help and it is great preparation for sleep. This trick works not just pre bed, but also if you happen to wake up in the middle of the night, and have difficulty getting back to sleep, a few moments of deep breathing, with focus on any part of the body that feels tense, will really help.
Homebody is ideal as part of a healthy bedtime routine, helping to nurture and renew. Explore our Mens, Womens pyjamas to ensure you are ready for good nights sleep