Just because we’re passing out from that late night negroni doesn’t mean we’re getting the best of our Z-time. There is an art to sleeping and falling asleep and it doesn’t include checking that instagram feed for 20 minutes before lights out. They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing folks. However to get that rejuvenating rest, you’ve got to go deep. Real deep. But these days our sleep is about as shallow as Derek Zoolander.
But recently the book Exhausted to Energised, by Dr Libby (a.k.a Hugh Jackman & Miranda Kerr’s personal Doc) landed on our desk, and after reading the first few pages, it was like she was inside our heads. Let’s just say energised isn’t exactly our normal. After a coffee? Sure, but it’s not like we’re bounding out of bed every morning feeling #ready. In fact, it’s kind of the opposite; snooze, doze, repeat, before literally dragging ourselves into the shower.
Cut a long story short and thanks to Dr Libby’s very straight forward snooze tips, our REM is better than a steamy cup of ginseng. Call us obsessed but her book is the first we’ve finished in a long time, and at the risk of sounding mildly hysterical, it’s basically changed our life.
Add her holistic teachings to your wind down ritual and you won’t ever need to touch the snooze button again. In a nutshell, she’s the reason Hugh Jackman is probably one of the most energetic humans on earth.
So go forth and start prioritizing your sleep. It’s the key to good health (and great skin).
Our new favourite word is goodnight.
1. Avoid caffeine after midday
Most people understand the effects of caffeine, but what isn’t common knowledge is just how long the effects caffeine can remain in your system. Research indicates caffeine can stay in your system for about eight hours, and in some instances up to 14 hours. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks and chocolate. Try avoiding caffeine after midday consistently and see if your sleep improves, and be sure to not squash in extras before midday! There are many delicious replacements you can use instead, including herbal teas. And if you cringe at how watery this will be – and hence not appealing – then it’s likely it’s the milk you want and you are most likely hungry when you are seeking a mid-afternoon coffee. Take some nuts from home to have as a snack instead.
2. Take up a meditation practice
Daily meditation has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, and may even have an effect on pain. Research suggests mindfulness meditation practice is particularly effective for improving sleep in people with sleep disorders such as insomnia. Guided meditations designed to encourage relaxation can be particular helpful for beginners. There are many different places you can try meditation courses, which can guide you through the basics and help you find a style of meditation that suits you.
3. Relax in a bath
Soaking in a nice warm bath can be a great way to de-stress and signal to your body the transition to rest time has come. Light a scented candle or use some lavender oil and invite the calm into your evening. Beyond the stress reducing effect, a warm bath also slightly changes your body temperature which can also promote better sleep. It’s best to take your bath about one to two hours before you sleep, to help support your body to transition into rest.
4. Keep your space tidy
It’s difficult to relax in a cluttered or messy room. Make your space sleep friendly by keeping the space clear and tidy. Healthy bedding is also important. Wash your sheets regularly and dry them on the line whenever possible as the UV helps to kill bacteria and keep them naturally crisp and clean. Also consider the age of your bed as research suggests we keep them too long for good support. Also, due to perspiration and skin sloughing off, dust mites can take up residence in mattresses and promote allergies.
5. Avoid back-lit electronic devices
TVs, computers, smartphones and tablets emit a sleep-disrupting light, yet many people still habitually check their social media or email before they go to bed. Create a new habit of not using backlit devices for 90 minutes prior to sleep if sleep quality is a problem for you. If you must sleep with your phone near you, switch to airplane mode or equivalent to prevent any notifications or noises in the middle of the night.
6. Consider what you eat/drink
It’s important to avoid eating a large meal just before bed. It also pays to be weary of your evening sugar intake. Aim to eat your main meal before 7pm, so your body has ample time to digest your food before you hop into bed. Also, be careful about snacking after dinner; particularly snacks high in sugar as these can cause sleeplessness and restlessness. Try a relaxing herbal tea such as chamomile instead.
7. Consistency with bedtime
It is important to aim for a consistent bedtime routine. Waking up and going to bed at the same time each night allows your body to set an internal time that notifies your body about when to start to prepare for sleep.