You’ve probably heard the saying: “You are what you eat”. And, for the most part, it’s pretty accurate – if you’re eating healthily, with plenty of greens and less of the sugary stuff, you probably feel pretty good. You feel energized, content and more capable of getting in the flow. After all, a healthy body = a healthy mind!
Now, although there isn’t really a saying along the lines of: “You are how you sleep”, there should be. Because just like surviving on a diet of hamburgers and pizza will leave you feeling unmotivated and lethargic, so too will a poor night’s sleep.
If we’re sleep-deprived, we’re more irritable, less productive, more prone to illness and less capable of making smart decisions. On the other hand, being well-rested makes us all-round happier, healthier people who are just a little bit better at everything we do!
Trust me, getting a good night’s sleep is something you’ll want to take seriously – for the sake of your body and mind.
Here are 5 tips to help you snooze your way to a sounder oblivion:
1. Get an evening routine going
This might seem tricky if you keep irregular working hours, or if you’ve a family to look after and can’t carve out time for yourself. But this means it’s even more important to have a bit of routine whenever possible!
If your bedtime is constantly changing, and you wind up going to bed with your mind still filled with plans, worries and anxieties…well, it’s going to be pretty tough to settle. By following the same set of steps every night, your mind will realize that the pattern leads to sleep; and it’s time to start shutting down.
Have a bath, read a book, do a meditation exercise, cuddle your cat…whatever helps you relax! Just make sure to do it at the same time before bed every night. Your mind and your body will know when to wind down as a result.
2. Power down early
Another tip that might seem impossible to a hard-working entrepreneur but one that you should definitely take on board. Because if you’re staying up ’til the wee hours, writing emails, checking sales and going cross-eyed looking at your laptop, you ain’t doing your sleep any favors…or yourself, the next day!
Why? Well, first of all working right up until you hit the sack is bound to leave your mind feeling tense and frazzled, even if you’re not aware of it. Secondly, the blue light that these screens emit block the production of melatonin. This “happiness hormone” usually sets our body up for a great sleep by relaxing and calming us down after a busy day. Without it, our body is alert, our mind is overactive and our sleep demons are cackling with mirth. This is too easy for them.
So take my advice – turn off your TV, your laptop and your phone (yes, your phone goes too!) an hour before bed. Leave them in the other room and buy an alarm clock if you’ve trouble waking with the dawn chorus. After even a few nights of being device-free by bedtime, you’ll start noticing a big improvement in how you sleep…and in your mood when you wake up!
3. Don’t neglect the rest
Great sleep goes hand in hand with a healthy diet and a healthy amount of exercise. They work as a kind of tripod; without one in your lifestyle, the healthier you collapses.
So try and do half an hour of exercise a day, if you can. Get out into the great outdoors as often as possible to help the fresh air calm your mind. Plus, if your body has had a workout, it’ll be more inclined to relax at the end of the day. Nice one.
You might already have a healthy diet and if so, good for you! But there are actually a few things you can eat that can help you get a better night’s sleep. Bananas, almonds and kiwis are all examples of sleep-promoting foods. They contain magnesium, which produces serotonin in the body and helps us to relax, and potassium, which acts as a muscle relaxant.
The result? Tasty snacks that lead to a sweet, sound slumber. Yum.
Well, that’s about all for now, folks! If you need any more advice on bed-related stuff (oi, keep it clean!), head on over to the Sleep Advisor (Sleepadvisor.org) website. Do your research, eat right, exercise often and get into better bedtime habits…and those sleepless nights you suffered before will become a distant memory.
Instead, you can look forward to a better sleep, every night – and who knows, you might even wake up a morning person!
Sweet dreams xoxo