I read in a recent report that sleep is as important to our health as eating, drinking, even breathing. It is the time when our bodies repair themselves and our minds recharge. The Great British Sleep Survey revealed that poor sleepers are twice as likely to have relationship problems and suffer from bad moods than those who get sound, regular Z-time.
I used to be the world’s best sleeper. As soon as my head hit the pillow I’d be out like a light. But this is now a very different story. I not only go to bed late but I wake up 4 or 5 times a night. When I am asleep I wake at the smallest sounds. Sometimes I am so tired before I go to bed I don’t even have time to remove my make up (a sin I thought I’d never commit). So what happened? I had a baby!
So now I find myself a (sleep) walking cliche – a new parent who has waved goodbye to her essential eight hours a night. But I am still aware of the importance of sleep. Arianna Huffington (Founder of the Huffington Post and super busy/successful/superwomen extraordinaire) recognises it in her autobiography many times as one of the most important factors that contribute to success. Scientists at Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge Universities have studied just how important it is for us to be getting our eight hours and have even examined how it can make us look younger… So, with that in mind, we have collated the best ways to maximise your sleep so that you can make the most of the spring ahead and start getting the all-important beauty sleep you deserve.
Pukka Night Time Tea
There’s nothing like a warming cup of tea to get you feeling all snoozy and Pukka’s Night Time Tea offers the perfect concoction that will do just that. The soothing lavender, oat flower and limeflower will work wonders at helping you to unwind, relax and send you off into a deep, restful sleep. And the best thing is that if you are breastfeeding – the tea’s dreamy powers will work their way into your milk and help lull your little babe softly into a slumber too. I like to drink a big mug a few hours before bedtime to give it some time to work its magic and I swear it has had an impact on how well my son has been sleeping too. To take things up a notch (though perhaps not if you are breastfeeding) try their new Night Time herbal tablets.
Ditch the Sugar
Although sugar is not considered a stimulant like caffeine, it can still effect how you sleep. Here at Hip & Healthy we like to inspire everyone to ditch sugar from their diets altogether, but if that just doesn’t seem possible, then try to make a conscious effort to cut it out completely in the evening if you are planning on having a good night’s sleep. As you may know, when we consume sugar we see a spike in our blood sugar levels which will help give us a burst of energy, once that has happened the blood sugar levels will decrease as quickly as they went up, leaving us feeling even more tired and more ready for bed than before. But here is the catch, because of this cycle, your hormones then work over time to bring the levels in your blood under control and this can effect your sleep patterns, in turn causing you to wake at odd times or sleep lightly rather than deeply. So think twice before you munch on that bowl of honey-laden granola before bed.
Bedside Thoughts Diary
A mum of a friend of mine would always sleep with a notebook next to her bed and jot down any thoughts or worries she had before she went to sleep that she felt she needed to remember for the next day. Anything from shopping lists to reminders to call family members was scribbled down before she went to sleep. It is only now that I see just how helpful a tool this is! By writing down all those little things you think about before bedtime you allow yourself to fully let them go until morning comes around. Also, as I am about to drift off it is often the case that I remember a file I need to take into work, or that it is a friend’s birthday the next day and instead of worrying about it all night I now scribble it down and can rest my head in peace knowing that I won’t forget!
New research has revealed that using your smart phone or laptop before bed can have detrimental effects on your sleep! Being more specific, the research concluded that two or more hours in front of a backlit screen suppresses the wonderful sleep hormone, melatonin by a whopping 22%. I have always tried to implement a no-screen rule after 9pm and when I stick to it I not only find that I manage to get to sleep much more quickly but that the sleep I have is much more restful too. Arianna Huffington is a huge advocate of the screen curfew and makes sure that she switches off long before her bedtime routine. Well if Arianna can…
Don’t forget – Clocks go tomorrow tonight!
words by Sadie Macleod