Every person in the world needs sleep yet we are not getting enough and it is causing big problems in all areas of our lives.
A leading sleep scientist, Prof Walker from the University of California, Berkeley stated that if you were to do one simple thing, to improve your immune system, protect from disease, mental ill health, flu, dementia and car crashes, it is sleep.
He concluded from a study that adults over 45yrs who get an average of less than 6 hours sleep a night are 200% more likely to have a stroke or heart attack.
Lack of sleep can also make us put on weight easier and quicken the ageing process, make us less productive during the day and less socially adept. Below are some tips for getting a good nights sleep.
1. An Evening Walk
Gentle exercise is proven to help us sleep better at night. Apart from making us tired, it helps the body relax and let go of tension.
2. Light Eating
Eating a heavy meal after 7pm can mean we don't have an optimal nights sleep. While we are sleeping the body is trying to digest the food instead of 'recharging our batteries', so to speak. Try and eat your main meal at lunch time and have a light meal in the evening. It makes more sense as we don't need a huge amount of energy at night time anyway.
3. Herbal Teas
Caffeine and alcohol are big no no's if you are looking for a good nights sleep. Try herbal teas instead, which aid relaxation and sleep. Camomile, lavender, valerian and lemon balm teas are all good. Also it is recommended not to drink too much water at night as you don't want to be waking constantly to use the bathroom.
4.Technology and Stimulation
There is evidence to suggest that using a phone or laptop an hour before bed stimulates the brain and makes us more alert, therefore feeling that we don't need to sleep. This causes us to go to bed later than usual. It is advised to stop all technology from tv to phone an hour before sleep. Put your phone on flight mode before entering your bedroom so you don't get tempted to check your social media before you go off to sleep.
Electric lights actually wind back our internal clock by two to three hours. The bluer light of modern LEDs including those in screens is twice as harmful.
Turn off harsh lighting and light some candles for a more relaxing atmosphere.
5. Your Bedroom Environment
Keep the bedroom free of clutter. It is best to be cosy, warm and inviting. You should want to sleep when you enter your bedroom.
Ventilation is important for sleep. Open your window for some oxygen but not too much so that the room gets cold.
You can also have an oil diffuser with some relaxing oils like lavender and eucalyptus to help you breath and sleep better.
6.Final thoughts before sleep.
Our mind can get very active at night thinking of the day and our problems and the following days events. A great thing to do is think of 10 things you are grateful for. This promotes positivity and a sense of calm, which is very good for relaxing the brain before you turn off the light.
Check out the youtube video
Reference : Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker, published by Allen Lane