Forming good sleep habits
When it comes to sleep, we should be creatures of habit. All too often we expect to be able to rush around all day, spending a few hours in front of the computer or TV in the evening and then immediately fall into a deep sleep when we finally get into bed. In reality, the body needs to wind down before it’s ready to fall into a restorative and rejuvenating sleep. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes, adopting a pre-bed ritual sends cues to your body that it is almost time to sleep. Activities that help relax the body will make it easier for you to drift off. Taking a warm bath, stretching, reading a book or listening to gentle music will help you wind down after a long day. To achieve a quality sleep, avoid stress-invoking activities in the evening like watching scary television programmes. These send adrenalin and awakening hormones charging through your body. The other key to helping you benefit from deep sleep is to turn the lights down in the evening. Exposing yourself to lots of light in the evening tricks your body into not producing enough melatonin, one of the main hormones that signals to your body it’s time for bed. So don’t spend the evening in front of your TV, tablet or computer. Instead, turn the lights down and read a book or potter around the house doing simple chores. It is also very useful to go to bed at a regular time every night, including the weekends. Spontaneity may be great during the day, but when it comes to sleeping the body enjoys regularity. The best routine for great sleep is to team up a pre-bed ritual with a regular sleep timetable. With both, you’ll be on your way to enjoying revitalising sleep.