March 05, 2020
March is world Sleep Month. And the very fact that we need an international month to celebrate and raise awareness for something that’s innate says that we’re definitely a world full of very tired people. And Australia is definitely in that category with studies finding that between 33 and 45 percent of Aussies have poor sleep patterns. The most common thing keeping us up is worrying, with 21 percent blaming technology for their insomnia. And we all know the effects that a bad night sleep can have: low motivation, low mood and zero concentration… not to mention the effect it has on your skin and general health. So the fact we’re getting very little is bad news for everyone. If you’re one of the many Aussie’s currently battling with a restful slumber, there are a few things you can do to help promote a better sleep. Here’s just a few of our favourites:
Take a bath:
Like we needed another reason to take a good, long soak. But if you did this is a very good one: science says it helps you get a better sleep. It’s all to do with body temperature, which naturally lowers at night to help you fall into sleep. So, when you have a warm bath, it’s actually the time directly after, where your body cools down, that sends you into the relaxation zone. Again, the optimal time for a soak is around an hour before bed so that you give your body enough time to cool down and get ready for the zz’s.
Limit screen time:
Here’s an alarming fact: our bodies take around three to four hours to wind down and get into a sleep-friendly zone. And you know what doesn’t help? Smartphones, tablets, and computers. Any blue-light emitting device can prevent your body from producing melatonin (which is what you need for sleep) and will no doubt keep you wired for hours as your brain is also stimulated by what you’re seeing. If you can, make bedrooms a device-free zone, or at the very least switch off an hour or so before bed to help the wind down process.
Meditation is having a moment, and with good cause: it can help with a number of issues including anxiety, stress and - of course - sleep. When we stop for the day and lie down in bed our brains tend to go into overdrive, replaying the days events… when all we need them to do is stop. This is where meditation comes in as it lowers the heart rate and helps slow down the breathing, both of which are conducive to a good night’s sleep. Try a couple of mindfulness meditations on the apps Headspace, One Giant Mind or Insight timer. Even a simple five minutes before bed will make a huge difference.
Lavender has long held a reputation for being soothing and relaxing, but as it turns out, it’s actually great at promoting sleep too. Small research studies have been done on its sleep-inducing effects, with positive results like increased slow-wave sleep. Though more comprehensive studies need to be done, if nothing else, lavender-scented products smell delicious which definitely makes us feel relaxed.