To many, sleep is a form of luxury, but in reality, it’s a necessity. The time spent sleeping is in fact a time for our bodies to rest and recover. The amount of sleep we get directly affects how our cognitive and behavioural functions operate as it allows both the body and mind to rest and heal after a long day. Without this window of rest, we may burn out and experience fatigue. Hence, a good night’s rest is so important as it equates to higher productivity, better mental concentration, stronger athletic performance and a healthier immunity system. In Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep, Walker emphasises how important sleep is to our bodies–it “restocks the armoury of our immune system, helping fight malignancy, preventing infection, and warding off all manner of sickness.” Sleep is essential for our overall health and wellbeing.
However, sleep disorders are actually a very common occurrence. From facing difficulty with falling asleep to not getting enough rest, there’s lots we can do to try and improve our quality of sleep. Sleep disorders can come in the form of racing thoughts that keep you wide awake, hence, coming up with a wind-down routine is one of the best ways you can get your mind to calm down after a hectic day–preparing your body for a good night’s sleep, and letting it know it’s time to rest. Here are some tips to ensure you get the best wind-down routine for your mind and body to rest and recover.
Finding it tough to fall asleep? That could be because your core body temperature is too high. Research has found that when we are asleep, our core body temperature decreases by 1-2 degrees, hence, by lowering our body temperature with a warm shower, this could send signals to our brain, informing it to tell the body that it’s time for bed. But how does a warm shower help in lowering our body temperature? A warm shower actually stimulates blood circulation causing blood to flow from our core into our hands and feet which works to remove the heat in our body, lowering our body temperature. In addition, the warmth from the bath helps to calm the body down, releasing any stress or tension that has built up throughout the day. Oh, and not to mention, you’ll go to bed clean.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in our bodies that controls our sleep patterns. The production of melatonin increases in darkness, prompting us, and letting our bodies know it’s time to rest. However, light hinders the production of melatonin–especially blue light. Blue light is emitted from electronic devices such as our phones, computers and TVs. Hence, it’s best to throw those screens as far away as we can before bedtime and let the melatonin roam free!
The environment around you plays an essential role in a good night’s sleep. Without a comfy bed or a cozy ambience, it’ll be tough trying to fall asleep. Remember when we talked about lowering our core temperature? Sleeping in a cool environment can actually help you sleep better. Not only does it lower your body temperature but it also prevents you from perspiring mid-sleep. Other than adjusting the temperature in your room, try adding more pillows or a throw-over blanket to achieve that cozy vibe. If you’re feeling a little extra, you can light a scented candle to top it all off. Research has shown that lavender, jasmine and chamomile are great scents that can help you relax. The more relaxed you feel, the sleepier you’ll–hello and welcome to dreamland.
These few steps can add a world of a difference to your sleep quality. Take the time to relax before bedtime and do what makes you feel at peace and relaxed. Your personalised wind-down routine can also be used as an opportunity for some me-time, what’s not to love? Sleep is essential for our health and overall well being so it wouldn’t hurt taking a few extra steps to ensure you get a good night’s rest. If you need a little more help, here’s a Spotify playlist that’ll send you straight to dreamland. Happy sleeping!