Tips for more restful sleep
When we imagine the vital components of living a healthy lifestyle, our slumber time often gets overlooked, writes Ilter Dumduz.
It’s believed that as long as we’re eating clean and exercising regularly, our bodies will continue to function as needed. Unfortunately, that is not entirely accurate, as rest plays a massive role in maintaining favourable mind and body function. In fact, according to The Sleep Health Foundation, sleep is a very important aspect of a healthy lifestyle, being listed as the third pillar of health¹, right up there with healthy diet and exercise.
As true as this is, it’s no secret that in the midst of juggling busy schedules, stresses of work and family obligations, proper sleep routines can often be placed on the back burner and substituted with copious amounts of caffeine. As a parent and an entrepreneur, I am absolutely guilty of this!
Especially in the early days of my business, I’ve struggled with attempting to get the recommended eight hours per night while my mind plays tomorrow’s to-do list on loop. With that being said, I’m also no stranger to feeling the effects of a sleepless (or many sleepless) night(s). As satisfying as that fourth cup of coffee may feel at the time, there’s really no substitute for proper R&R.
With that in mind, I’ve begun to really make a conscious effort to look after myself and implement a few regular routines to help maintain a healthy balance and gain a better sleep. There are a few pro-tips I’ve found to help.
Stay active and expose yourself to at least 30 minutes of sunlight
What we do with our days can greatly impact how well we slumber. No matter how busy our days get, popping out for a quick walk during lunch or fitting in a nice morning run can really help promote a restful sleep. Being exposed to plenty of sunlight and Vitamin D helps keep our circadian rhythms (or natural body clock) healthy and ticking properly.
Unplug (or eliminate blue light)!
In a time where we’re constantly connected, unplugging before bed is no easy feat! However, the blue light on our phones or computers tricks our mind into thinking it’s still daytime, which reduces melatonin levels and creates a less relaxing sleep. It helps to implement a daily cut-off time for phone and computer usage, and opt for a good book or podcast before bed instead. There are also downloadable apps you can turn to that block the blue light, if you do need to do some late-night catch-up.
Be mindful of what you eat before bed
As you’ve probably experienced at least a few times in your life, trying to get to sleep after consuming a heavy meal is not the most relaxing thing in the world. In addition to feeling uncomfortable, indulging before bed has been known to impact sleep quality and hinder the release of melatonin. However if you are feeling peckish, you can resort to foods that are high in Vitamin B or contain vital amino acids such as nuts, beans, dairy and bananas.
Have regular pre-sleep and self-care routines in place
I’ve found that the best way to achieve a restful sleep after the busiest of days, is putting some time aside to actually prepare for your sleep. As mentioned, unplugging is a great first step. Practising regular self-care is also a great way to ensure you’ll receive a more restful sleep. I’ve often turned to meditation apps such as Headspace or Calm to help hush my mind before bed. A hot bath or shower before bed can also help get your body warm and ready to rest.
Although not one for every evening, indulging in regular massage has proven benefits where anxiety, depression and quality of sleep are concerned. Massage is another practice that helps with regulating our circadian rhythms. On-demand wellness apps allow you to receive massages from qualified practitioners, right in the comfort of your own home and even office.
Stay consistent with your sleep routine
Regulation in many aspects can be vital. This is especially true when it comes to sleep. Our body’s circadian rhythm works on a set loop, which aligns with the rising and setting of the sun. Keeping relatively consistent with our sleep times (yes, even on weekends!) has been proven to aid in long-term sleep quality. I find the ‘Bedtime’ features on iPhone or Android to be a fabulous way to track your sleep and create a routine that you can stick with.
Ilter Dumduz is the founder and CEO of Blys.
“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain