It’s World Sleep Day on the 19th March and therefore the perfect time to consider the importance of a restful night on our overall wellbeing and to review how much good quality shut-eye we’re actually getting. ‘Sleep problems are far more than just not having enough hours in bed, many people have difficulties drifting off, staying asleep and waking up refreshed, or not,’ says sleep expert and registered nutritional therapist, Olivier Sanchez. ‘Unlike other species in the animal kingdom, we do not go to sleep when we should, we take our daily accumulated stress to bed, we read work emails and reports in bed and do not wake up naturally – but instead use the sound of a blaring emergency-like alarm. So it’s no wonder we are seeing issues increase.’ To celebrate World Sleep Day we’ve put together a list of handy tips and tricks that have improved our shut eye naturally and helped us to wake up feeling refreshed, rebalanced and ready to take on the day.
Put down devices
It’s the tip we’ve all heard but struggle to actually implement, especially during lockdown when our social, work and even love lives are tied up on our phones. The blue light emitted from your phone, TV or laptop screen may actually boost your alertness (which isn’t what you want before bed) and suppress your melatonin levels (a hormone that helps you drift off). The compromise? This world sleep day we have chosen to turn on our phone’s ‘night-time mode’ to change the screen to a more bed-time friendly orange backlight. We try to have at least 15 minutes of relaxing phone-free time before bed, even if it’s reading a magazine, a few pages of a book or doing our skincare routine.
Reset the body clock
A circadian rhythm is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep–wake cycle and repeats on each rotation of the Earth roughly every 24 hours. As an ex night owl who was used to falling asleep very late every night, I found I needed to reset my internal clock and schedule my alarm a little earlier each morning. A great routine to start on World Sleep Day! I found that exposing yourself to morning light can reset and even stabilise our internal cycle so that I slowly got used to falling asleep earlier in the evenings. It might seem difficult (those late night Netflix binges are difficult to give up) but it paid dividends in the long run for overall wellbeing.
Manage your worries
Bed-time mindfulness or meditation sessions have really helped stop our heads spinning with worry and replaying daily anxieties. While there are many apps to help support your mindfulness efforts, we love a simple breathing exercise. Here’s what we do: Lay down in a quiet place and take several deep breathes. Draw attention to the inhale and exhale and the motions they bring. Feel the chest rise and fall and body relax with each exhale. Each time the mind starting to race towards a thought, slowly and gently bring your focus back to your breath. It’s not about emptying your mind or clearing it of thoughts, but simply being aware of them. I love to imagine my thoughts as cars, whizzing round a giant roundabout at some speed. Mindfulness is about taking a step back and observing all of these cars from a view, rather than getting in one of the cars and whizzing round the roundabout in it!
Review your ‘sleep space’
On World Sleep Day and every day the bedroom should be a place that makes us feel calm. If it’s cluttered, loud and messy that may subconsciously be hindering your night time rest.
We dedicate some time to decluttering our sleep space and pairing back as much as possible. We put stuff we don’t need out of sight and invested in a blackout blind as we find too much light in pouring into the window is distruptive.
Avoid caffeine before bed
Studies report that leaving a six hour window between your last consumption of caffeine and your bed-time should be adequate in order to ensure it won’t affect the ability to snooze. We were finding that consuming a lot of caffeine in any given day, was having an impact this is having on our ability to enjoy a restful and rebalancing night. We made a switch to decaf or a herbal tea.
Do you have any other World Sleep Day tips?
We’d love to hear them!
Message us on Instagram (@itsourremedy) or drop us an email. To celebrate World Sleep Day, we’re offering 50% off our Pretty Peaceful oil for 24 hours. Use code ‘sleepy’ at the checkout. (offer valid 19th March 2021 only)