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Sleep beautiful sleep. Remember that? It was that amazing rejuvenating, life-enhancing thing we all did every night before our addiction to smartphones and Netflix came along to spoil the party.
Well, my friends, I’m here to rekindle your love of sleep. Nothing and I mean absolutely nothing is better for our body and mind than getting the doctor’s recommended eight hours a night.
Regular exercise and a good diet may very well be the two pillars of good health but quality sleep is the foundation on which they are built.
Without a solid night’s rest under your belt, no amount of smashed avocado on toast and press ups are going to keep you fit and sane.
Such is sleep’s power that individuals who regularly get less than seven hours a night (known to medical science as the chronically sleep deprived) are increasing their risk of a whole heap of ailments and conditions.
Anything from stress, anxiety and depression, to heart disease, obesity, Alzheimer’s and diabetes is made more likely by sleeping badly. Plus not catching enough Zsss gives us bad skin too. Urgh!
Below I’m going to give you a few easy wins, simple life hacks you can make to quickly improve your odds of getting a better night’s kip tonight, and every night.
Related Post: On That Elusive Good Night’s Sleep
Black is Better
Peeps I’m going to start with a super easy win. Go to your bedroom now. Close the curtains and turn off the lights. Go on. I’ll wait.
Is it pitch black? No. Then sorry to say but you are doing your sleep no favours at all. If your curtains can’t block out all the light even during the daytime then they are simply not doing their job properly.
Light pollution is a big reason we are all sleeping so poorly in today’s hyper-electrified world. Damn you Edison and your silly lightbulbs!
Splashing out on some well-fitted curtains or, better yet, a good set of blackout blinds will have an immediate impact on how well you sleep.
If you’re a little short on cash until the end of the month, don’t worry, simply go out and pick up a £1 sleep mask, it’ll do the exact same job. Plus you’ll look super cool wearing it, I promise!
Related Post: How To Increase your Wellbeing by Waking Up Naturally
Reclaim your Bed for Sleep
My lovelies, your bed is designed to be used for one thing – sleep. Ok, two things – sleep and having a nice cuddle with your special friend. But nooky aside, your bed should only ever be used for sleep.
Somehow our bedrooms have become makeshift offices and home cinemas. Now we’re all answering emails in bed and staying late every night to watch four episodes of whichever programme is the new ‘best tv show ever’ this week.
Our brains are obviously very complex things but they are also surprisingly simple when it comes to their love of associations and shortcuts. If we use our bed for a whole host of other activities our poor brains will have no idea what to think. If however we only ever use our bed to sleep our brains will only associate beds with sleep. Simple. As a result, the mere action of diving under the covers will trigger a somnambulatory response. Another easy win!
While you’re thinking about your bed, give it the once over and make sure it’s fit for purpose. Is it sagging in the middle, lumpy, the wrong size for your body? If the answer is yes to any of these, do something about it you fool! Considering we spend a full one-third of our lives in them, we human beans give very little attention to the things we sleep on.
Related Post: 7 Morning Rituals to Guarantee a Great Day
Wind Down Time
You flick off the lights at the end of a long and tiring day, you feel exhausted but then suddenly BAM! Your brain is running a million miles a second. Worrying about this, stressing about that. Goddamnit! Why is this?
Well, it’s because you haven’t given yourself enough wind-down time between the stresses and strains of the day and your bedtime. You might be physically tired but your brain is still hyped up and overstimulated like a 10-year-old who has got hold of a Red Bull.
Do your poor overworked synapses a favour and destressify (yes, that’s a word) your entire pre-bed routine. How? First, calculate what your bedtime is, then wind the clock back an hour and remove any stressful activity from this period.
That means no screens at all (yes, that means no smartphones) and no attempting to do your tax returns or even your son’s maths homework.
Instead, try and work in some low impact activities into your routine, try baking, having a nice bath, listening to some music or maybe even start working your way through that list of must-read books. If you haven’t read Wolf Hall yet, start tonight! It’s amazing. Thank me later!
Well, there you have it – three easy wins in the battle to find better sleep. Everybody is different and what works for some people won’t for others. But if you take anything away from this article let it be this: Treat your sleep with respect and it will repay you a thousand times over.
So what about you? What are your top tips for getting a good night’s sleep?