Today is world sleep day and what better day to take some time to learn the importance of sleep.
You’ll already be aware of the common side effects of not getting a good nights sleep such as feeling exhausted, unmotivated and unbalanced.
We generally give little thought to sleep and its importance, yet we spend a third of our life doing it.
In the book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker PhD (which is a fascinating read)- there is an advert, it reads…
Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer. It enhances your memory and makes you’re more creative. It makes you look more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and the flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes. you’ll even feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious. Are you interested?
The advert isn’t describing a new wonder drug but the proven benefits of a full nights sleep.
Why do so many struggle to achieve a good nights sleep?
Life is so busy, with so much to do, with everything literally on your phone, emails, social media, to-do lists, you’re always ON. You go through your days trying to do as much as possible to achieve a sense of well, achievement, but nine times out of ten you feel reactive instead of proactive, you're tired, your stress levels rise and when you sit down at the end of a busy day, you turn on the TV and fall down the Netflix rabbit hole, before you know its midnight, you tell yourself you should’ve of gone to bed hours ago, negative thoughts race through your mind, as you fall into bed your thoughts are on all that needs to be done tomorrow.
And the cycle continues...
“Why am I constantly exhausted?” You shout
So, what is sleep?
Sleep is when your body ‘powers down’ think of your computer shutting down so it can install updates, repair viruses, clear memory and save power. This allows it to run fast and be more effective.
In an article in National Geographic, Patricia S. Daniels wrote.
“Every night, if you’re lucky, you take part in one of the greatest mysteries in biology. your body collapses. Your brain tunes out most sights and sounds. You develop amnesia, with periodic bouts of hallucination. On and off your larger muscles become paralysed. About eight hours after you enter this bizarre state, you regain awareness of the world, sit-up and feel better.”
This made me smile, sleep is something we do every day yet we know so little about it.
With the invention of an electroencephalograph (EEG) in the last century as the study of sleep and brain science evolved.
How do you know when to sleep?
Most of us, choose a time to sleep and wake by the numbers on a clock, when the reality is, it’s your body clock that dictates the time, through a cycle called circadian rhythm (Latin ‘Circa’ - around ‘dian’ - day).
Your body clock, the circadian rhythm is also influenced by daylight, temperature and many lifestyle factors as well as genetics
Because your beautifully unique so is your circadian rhythm.
Want to find out if you’re a Morning Lark or a Night Owl try this FREE quiz
Is sleep necessary?
Yes, for your mental, emotional and physical well-being. Sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system, protecting your vital organs, repairing and growing your muscles and enhancing your memory and learning capabilities.
When you sleep well, you’ll feel healthier, more energised, your creativity increases. Stress and anxiety reduce. You become more productive in all areas of your life.
Healthy, happy and vibrant. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
How to sleep well
Here are a few suggestions to help you prepare for nourishing sleep
Plan your day the night before - When you know where you’re going its easier to get there. Creating a schedule allows you to reduce stress by being more proactive and less reactive. Set out a morning routine - stretch, journal, exercise, drink water stay in aeroplane mode for at least 40 mins.
Be mindful - be present, be intentional about your actions, with awareness comes a calm. Your mind, body and spirit love calm and so does sleep.
Eat well - Eat clean. Noticing what foods give and deplete energy is a great place to start. Click here for your FREE 7-day Food Journal. Stick to regular mealtimes. Try to avoid eating too close to bedtime - ideally, 3 hours before, this will reduce heartburn and insomnia. Tart Cherry Juice is said to improve sleep as they are high in melatonin read the article here.
Magic Magnesium - Magnesium is an incredibly important mineral, improving sleep, elevating tired and sore muscles and also has a calming effect on the mind. A few sprays of magnesium before bed works wonders (check with your healthcare provider first)
Click here for magnesium spray
Power Down Hour - creating a power-down hour is highly effective. Setting a time to turn off and slow down before sleep. turn off the tv, digital devices and prepare an indulgent hour. A warm relaxing bath, gentle stretching, meditating, reading something calming.
Journaling - Releasing your thoughts onto paper means that you're not taking them with you to sleep. Finish by listing down 3 things that you are grateful for and something that made your heart happy.
Be intentional with your breath - inhale and exhale slowly, with one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach, with a gentle focus.
Visualise your perfect day - I love this, take yourself on a journey, see the sights, sounds and smells.
Sleep stories - we read fairytales to children in a soft, calm voice and they go off into slumberland dreaming of magical things. But who can read to us? One of my favourites is called Wonder read by Matthew McCounnaughy on the Calm App - it’s 30 mins long but I have never heard past the 10-minute mark.
Your Mattress - the place where you will spend 7 - 9 hours - choose wisely.
Goodnight, sweet dreams, sleep tight wake up bright in the morning light, to do what’s right, with all your might
Love Kate x