With that in mind, we consulted two sleep gurus, Drew Ackerman the founder of Sleep With Me, a one-of-a-kind bedtime story podcast and Dr Carmel Harrington of Sleep for Health, who has a has a PHD in Sleep Medicine. With their help we glean different ways to encourage the arrival of sleep sooner.
5 tips to help you fall asleep faster
1. Switch Off and reconnect with light
“Having a dark room is conducive to sleep, and avoid using your phone or tablet before bed. Try to expose yourself to the sun as soon as you wake up, that might be opening up your curtains or going for a morning walk or having a cup of coffee outside,” advises Drew Ackerman.
2. Eat ‘sleep promoting’ foods
“What you eat during the day can directly affect your sleep cycle at night. Research suggests that food such as nuts, turkey, kiwi fruit, tart cherry juice and fatty fish – such as salmon – can promote high-quality sleep,” says Drew. “Consider integrating these foods into your evening meals, and try to avoid drinking coffee after lunchtime. Instead, opt for a cup of calming chamomile tea which has historically been used for its sedative and calming effects.”
3. Have a plan
“Good, deep, sleep doesn’t just happen by accident; you need to work at it and create healthy bedtime habits that works specifically for you,” says Drew.
“Aim to go to bed at the same time every night, and repeat the same pattern of actions before bed each night. This will help train your mind to recognise that you’re getting ‘bed ready’.”
Drew also suggestions journaling or writing down things you are thankful for before going to bed, or if you suffer from an over-active mind, write a to-do list before hitting the pillow.
4. Try natural medicine
“Clinical research has found that Flordis ReDormin Forte, which contains a combination of extracts of valerian and hops, can help provide relief from sleep problems and waking during the night,” says Drew. Consult your GP for more information.
5. Listen to relaxing sleep music
Music works to regulate emotions and moods, and is able to synchronise with our bodily rhythms, making it a soothing antidote to sleeplessness. You need only open up YouTube to discover the endless videos dedicated to music for sleep. Because the category is so vast, you can get very specific with your musical choice and even listen to songs backed by pink noise, such as rainstorms or crackling fires. Talk about relaxing.
If music isn't for you then, a podcast may also be just as useful. "Choose a podcast that doesn’t require too much brain power, and let the slow, monotonous tone, lull you off to sleep.”
5 tips to help you readjust your sleep pattern
1. Make the change slowly
Working from home has allowed us an extra hour of sleep everyday. As we slowly return to work, our wake up time returns to the dreaded 7 am or 6 am in some cases to fit in exercise, a beauty regime or parenting responsibilities. "To make this change without too much effort and with minimal impact, we need to slowly move our body clocks forward. This can be done seamlessly by moving your alarm time 15 minutes earlier every 2-3 days in the lead-up to your first office day," says Dr Carmel Harrington.
2. Use a smart sleep light
Sleep lights aren't just for the little ones, it turns out they also have a lot of benefits for adults. The Nox Smart Sleep Light produces soothing light and sounds to mimic the rising and setting of the sun, so you can wake up naturally. It also monitors the temperature, humidity, light and noise levels in your bedroom, which are more important than you think for creating the perfect conditions for sleep.
3. Adjust your bedtime
"After we wake up, we're ready to sleep 16 hours later. This means that when your wake-up time moves earlier, so should your bedtime. The average adult requires 7-9 hours sleep each night."
4. Have a strict bedtime ritual
"The body thrives on routine, and this is when we perform at our best," says Harrington. Finding a routine that works for you could be the key to falling asleep and better quality sleep. Start your routine a half hour or hour before bed and trade in all technology for something more soothing like a book or some guided yoga, which is a great de-stressor. Create a relaxing environment with sleep promoting products like candles or lavender mists and sip on a non-caffeinated tea.
5. Go easy on yourself
Considering how overwhelming life has been as of late for everyone, it's important not to be too hard on yourself if readjusting takes longer than you expected. "We've just experienced a long period of so much uncertainty and drastic changes to all aspects of our lives. Give yourself a chance to move back into old routines gradually."
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