Ahhh sleep. A vital part of our lives and an integral component in the quest for good health. Most of us are aware of the importance of a good night’s rest but do we REALLY appreciate the impact our quality of sleep can have on our physical and psychological health?
The average person will (or should at least aim to) spend 30% of their lives in bed.
Think about that. That’s a long time!
Yet our modern environment with its 24 hour access to electronic devices, mobile phones and that new series on Netflix, often leaves us feeling most awake at a time when we should be snuggling up in our duvet and looking forward to a relaxing, peaceful sleep.
You see, technology has it’s drawbacks. Over stimulation of the brain can leave us wired and ready to take on the world at 1am, only to feel drained and utterly exhausted at 7am as we struggle to drag ourselves out of bed in the morning.
Perhaps the biggest drawback of our technology addiction is the effect it can have on our sleep. Chronic stress and inadequate rest has resulted in a large proportion of the professional population scraping by on 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night. Broken sleep at that.
So why do we need to sleep?
Well there are a host of reasons but here are the biggies:
Nervous system repair
Overall regeneration and rest
I’m sure you’ll agree it’s all good stuff!
So with that in mind, here are our Glasgow Treatment Rooms top tips to building good sleeping habits that can help you achieve a great night’s sleep.
1. Caffeine Consumption
Shout out to all the professionals working in Glasgow City Centre who can avoid the countless coffee shops en route to work!
Caffeine is a stimulant that can impact on your sleep. We’re not suggesting that you banish caffeine altogether; rather, it’s important to be aware of WHEN you consume your caffeine. Research recommends keeping caffeine consumption to the morning and mid-afternoon to ensure you’re not wired to the moon come 10pm.
2. Artificial Lights
Blackout blinds are great to avoid harsh street lighting which can often keep you awake at night. Artificial lighting also includes mobile phones and other screens; such devices emit blue lighting that stimulates the stress hormone cortisol (which would normally be stimulated as we wake up). If you struggle to sleepy try and limit the use of a bright screen to an hour before bedtime and see if it makes a difference.
The ideal temperature is a very individual preference but roughly speaking, your room should feel cool. Too warm and you’ll be tossing and turning and struggling to get comfortable.
Check the tog of your duvets, it might be worth purchasing a heavier tog for winter and a lighter one for the summer months. You may also find it useful to leave a window slightly open prior to bedtime to ensure the room is adequately ventilated.
When it’s all ‘go go go’ it can be hard to switch off. Therefore making an effort to promote relaxation is so important in helping you get a good sleep.
Why not light a couple of candles or try a lavender spray on your bedding? A warm bath is also a great way to ease you into sleep – just make sure it’s not too warm! (Going back to point 3).
Us therapists at the Glasgow Treatment Rooms are a dab hand at our deep tissue massage work. Of course massage is another wonderful method to switch off and relax on a day-off or after a long day’s work! Clients will often report feeling calm, relaxed and ready for bed after a session. Happy days!
5. Don’t Fret!
Finally, don’t overanalyse things! You may find the more you panic about not sleeping the harder it is to get to sleep. While it’s recommended that 8 hours sleep a night is optimal, we are all individual.
Enjoy winding down at the end of the night and allowing your body the perfect environment to promote sleep. In time, these small habits will build up and help to promote good quality sleep night after night.
Written by Jane Black – Massage Therapist