Previously we have learned about how much sleep do we really need and what effects sleep deprivation can have on our bodies
So, the question now is how do we optimise our sleep?
Give Yourself Enough Time
The first step is actually getting to bed. Most people with sleep deprivation just don’t set aside enough time to sleep. It’s pretty hard to get 7-9 hours sleep when you’re only in bed for 6 hours. Most people know what time they need to be up in the mornings, count back 8 hours from there and make sure you’re in bed by then
Build a Healthy Sleep Environment
Your bedroom should be purpose built for sleeping. It needs to be dark, cool and quiet. Block out blinds or curtains will help reduce any ambient light from outside.
You also need to have good quality bedding. If you’re going to spend ⅓ of everyday sleeping, your mattress needs to be comfortable yet supportive.
If you would like any guidance when it comes to choosing a good mattress, we recommend contacting Regal Sleep Solutions. They’re an Australian owned and manufactured company that has a wide range of quality mattresses and if you mention that we sent you in, they’ll put together a very competitive deal for you
Dim The Lights
Your body is stimulated by light, so being in brightness right before bed can make it difficult to drift off to sleep. Turning down your lighting in the few hours leading to bed can help calm your body and make it easier to sleep
Set A Relaxing Routine
Taking some time to wind down after the day can make getting to sleep a much quicker process. I recommend turning off electronics 1 hour before bed. Their backlit screens stimulate our brains the same ways that room lighting does and phone apps are specifically designed to keep you scrolling and connected. Instead use that time to reflect on the day and prepare for tomorrow.
No Electronics In The Bedroom
Keeping electronics out of the bedroom reduces the temptation to be using them near bedtime. If you’re struggling to sleep, instead of watching TV or scrolling through your phone, try reading or journaling instead. This can give you something to do while your brain settles down without the visual stimulation of electronic devices
Don’t Stare At The Clock
Staring down the clock when you’re tired only increases your cortisol (stress hormone) levels and makes it harder to get to sleep. Plus, if it is an electronic clock, the light from that can once again wake up your brain. Try turning your clock around or covering it up instead.
The last point I want to make here is making changes to sleeping schedules is hard. Life is busy and most of us feel that there’s not enough time in the day to get everything we need done. If following all the above suggestions seems daunting, start with one. If finding extra time for sleep seems too difficult, start with improving you sleep environment first. That way, if you’re only getting 5 hours at least you know it is a quality 5 hours. You can always increase the time later.
Following as many of these suggestions as possible will go a long way to getting you a great night’s sleep and really finding your body’s full potential
Written by Dr. Simon Weekes, Chiropractor at Better Back Chiropractic, Oakbank - serving the Adelaide Hills and Mt Barker Regions.
Asleep on the Job: Costs of Inadequate Sleep in Australia, Sleep Health Foundation, Aug 2017
American Heart Association Scientific Conferences, Palm Harbor, Fla., March 10-14, 2009.
News release, American Heart Association