Considering we spend roughly half our lives asleep (or at least trying to be asleep), you’d think we’d give it a little more attention. But the truth is that many of us take our quantity and quality of sleep for granted. I know I have in the past!
Research shows that one in three adults don’t get enough sleep. And the impact of this on your life can be huge. Not only are you missing out on rest that will keep you physically able to maintain your life, but you’re also skipping out on giving your body time to repair.
So, with National Sleep Awareness Week in March, I wanted to share my top 3 sleep tips for a happier and healthier you. Work a few of these into your daily life and I’m confident you’ll come away a healthier, happier, and more energetic person!
1. Create a wind-down routine
Everything you do in the few hours before bed will influence your sleep - for better and for worse. So try to create a bedtime routine full of habits that promote better rest. Your personal routine will depend on what you enjoy most. But it could include reading a good book, taking a relaxing bath or shower, moving your body with low-impact yoga, or meditation.
Then there’s your evening skincare ritual. There is truth to the phrase “Getting Your Beauty Rest,” and here’s why: In the evening, skin cell mitosis (the division of skin cells) begins, and your skin starts to renew and repair itself. This is also why it is best to take off your makeup when you get home at night. Finding a routine that works for you is essential. Plus, there’s something so relaxing about massaging your skin and inhaling the delicious scents of different products.
For my night time routine, I have some favorite Erno Laszlo products I love to use:
- VTM Cream-to-Foam Cleanser – Wash away the day with this gentle cleanser
- AHA Resurfacing Sleep Serum – A must for dull, uneven skin
- Phelityl Night Cream – A rehydrating miracle worker
- Memory Gel Sleep Mask – Amazing for replenishing moisture lost while you sleep
Our minds and bodies love routine. And predictable night times will help reduce stress, promote relaxation, and distract you from any worries that keep you up. Over time, your body will also learn to associate these habits with sleep, making it even easier to drift off.
2. Ditch the devices
It’s difficult to get a restorative night’s sleep if you’re glued to your devices until the second you switch off the light. Scrolling through social media, reading the news, or even checking your messages will keep you up for longer. It stimulates your brain, switching it into ‘on’ mode, and can take hours to counteract. Research shows that turning off your device at least 30 minutes before bed can improve sleep quality and duration.
Another concern is the impact of blue light, which is found in the LED screens of most of your devices. Ordinarily, the sun goes down, and the darkness tells our bodies it’s time to sleep. In response, they start producing melatonin – a sleep-inducing hormone. Exposure to blue light confuses this process. It can decrease your levels of melatonin and trick your mind and body into thinking it’s still daytime.
If you can’t avoid screens late at night, consider using blue light glasses. They contain filters that block or absorb blue light, reducing your exposure. If you do this, it could help you sleep 60 to 90 minutes more per night, which has been shown to make you happier and healthier.
3. Make time to journal
Journaling is one of the best ways to set yourself up for a deep sleep. And it’s something you can easily incorporate into your bedtime routine. Writing down your thoughts in the evening helps put any unresolved feelings or stresses out of your mind and onto the page.
It sounds simple, but it can be a brilliant emotional release, stopping you from ruminating on your day for hours in the dark. In fact, one study found that participants who journaled before bed fell asleep quicker and slept for longer. Even writing down tomorrow’s to-do list can be beneficial for switching off.
High-quality sleep is one of the best ways to keep yourself feeling happy and healthy. So why not use National Sleep Awareness Week as inspiration to improve yours? If you try any of these tips out, let me know – I’d love to hear how you get on!