We live in a modern world – which includes a high level of sleep deprivation. I would call it a health epidemic. Scientists from the Oxford University are saying that people are sleeping about 1-2 hours less than sixty years ago. In context of an eight hour sleep cycle – that’s a 25% loss in sleep!!! This is shocking considering how important sleep is for our health and well-being.
All of this lack of sleep is linked to all kinds of negative health consequences, including increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes as well as Alzheimer’s. Not to mention, poor digestion, clarity, lack of energy and a huge compromise on our hormonal regulation. In my experience, the majority of clients I work with struggle with their sleep and are unconsciously contributing to this struggle by doing something every day in their life that is impacting their ability to sleep at night.
Shut down the tech – 90min before bed, switch off all modern technology – this includes, phones, tablets and laptops. Switch off the television – Netflix will be there another day. This reduces the mental and emotional stimulation which is what is often what keeps us awake. Also, the blue light that comes out of these devices can actual reduce your levels of a hormone called melatonin, which is something that we need to help us drop into a deep relaxing sleep. I have in my own experience and in the experience of my clients make huge difference in sleep quality.
Welcome the morning light – Ayurveda knows what works – this ancient science was so in tune with nature – that many of these ancient practices are being proven by modern science. Going outside in the morning and exposing yourself to natural light can help you sleep better in the evening. It does this by regulating and helping you set your body’s natural daily circadian rhythm.
Ditch or change the time you consume caffeine – Coffee – a much loved beverage. So many of us love our morning cup of tea or coffee, but for a lot of us the caffeine can have a negative impact on our sleep. So if your one of those people who can’t ditch it or switch it – consume only before noon, 12pm. We all metabolize caffeine differently, many people take up to several hours to process caffeine so it’s always worth trying this tip. I have many clients who are determined and swear that caffeine does not have an effect of their sleep and that caffeine does not affect them– until they try this suggestion and see the improvement in their sleep (and eventually that afternoon caffeine hit they are used to become non-existent). If you are one of these people – I suggest you give this a go.
Create a routine – with our busy and hectic lives – children are not the only ones who need a routine – we can benefit from one as well. Ayurveda not only is big on a morning routine but a night time routine as well. We would like to think that finishing up emails, and other types of work and go right to bed and drop off into a deep relaxing sleep immediately is going to work well – but in reality most of us are left laying away – still thinking about our to do lists. Taking a relaxing bath, dimming the lights or reading a book are all ways you can get your body prepared so that you can fall asleep relaxed and get that restorative sleep we are meant to have.
Having a bath before bed has some amazing effects on our sleep – it not only relaxes our nervous system but also raises are body temperature and when we then step out of the hot water our body temperature drops - we can sleep better when it is cooler. You can also add some essential oils to your bath to help promote relaxation and sleep – such as Lavender
Applying oil to the body is another nightly routine I do recommend. – Ayurveda is all about oiling the body – I like to use a medicated herbal oil and give myself a grounding foot massage.
A great night’s sleep allows you to improve your mood, make better choices, and move better.