With World Sleep Day (March 13) just around the corner, there’s no better time to improve your slumber...
Most of us know that we function more efficiently after a good night’s sleep—we’re less irritable, more focussed and probably a lot nicer than our sleep-deprived selves. But did you know that quality sleep also helps with weight maintenance, assists with stress management, allows your body to recover from illness, promotes skin rejuvenation and improves the composition of your gut microbiome? Yes, sleep really is your superpower! Here’s how to get more of it.
Say No To the Next Episode
A night in front of the TV can be a great way to wind down—but within reason. Because if you’re watching episode after episode and ignoring signs of tiredness, studies show that you’re doing yourself a major disservice. Apart from increasing alertness, blue-light emitting devices like phones, tablets and televisions also suppress the release of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin, and delay the onset of REM sleep (which is when you’re most likely to dream). As hard as it may be, it pays to ditch your device after dark.
Pick Up A Book
Before bed, it’s essential to “switch on” your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). Your PNS—also known as the rest and digest system—slows your heart rate and relaxes your muscles, thereby preparing your mind and body for sleep. If meditation and guided-breathing exercises aren’t your thing, make a habit out of reading before bed. After a few pages, you’ll find yourself unwinding without making a concerted effort to do so. Pro tip: avoid crime-thrillers!
Rethink Your Nightcap
Developing a few evening rituals can really help to set the stage for a satisfying sleep, but sometimes, this can mean replacing old habits with new ones. While many people swear by the sleep-inducing powers of an alcoholic nightcap, drinking before bed can actually do more harm than good. This is because alcohol simultaneously increases your active alpha-wave activity (generally, alpha activity is a good thing, but not when you’re asleep) while also increasing your delta-wave activity (these occur when you’re in the deepest state of sleep). This can send mixed messages to the brain, resulting in a light and disrupted sleep. What’s more, the effects of this brain activity cancel out many of the regenerative, beauty-boosting benefits of sleep and may be the reason you wake up feeling tired.
Try A Supplement Instead
If you have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, a natural sleep supplement can be an effective aid. Containing lemon balm, sour cherry, turmeric and passionflower, SLEEP Inner Beauty Support was created to reduce sleeplessness and relieve symptoms of mild anxiety, allowing you to wake up feeling well-rested and refreshed. Mix one teaspoon of SLEEP in a mug of warm, plant-based milk an hour or so before bed, or whip up this Warm Sleepy Chai, to lull you into a peaceful slumber.
Do you have a fail-proof strategy that gets you through the night? We’d love to hear!