There is endless research being performed to prove just how important sleep is. It affects are mood and mental clarity, as well as cognition, memory, fitness recovery, Alzheimer risk, cancer risks, fat burning ability and so much more.
So we now know WHY sleep is so important but HOW do we make sure we are getting the best quality sleep? How do we make the most of our shut-eye time? Here's our top tips to help you get a better night's rest.
1. Keep your bedroom as quiet, dark and cool as possible. Optimal temperature for sleeping is 10-21 degrees celsius. Use block out blinds or curtains (or an eye mask) and remove items that omit light such as chargers, clocks, etc. Lights send a powerful cue to our brain that it's time to wake up.
2. Expose yourself to natural light during the day. Daylight helps to support a healthy circadian rhythm and signals the appropriate sleep/wake cycles.
3. Reduce food intake within 2 hours of bedtime. Going to bed on a full stomach can increase your metabolism and body temperature which can negatively affect your REM sleep.
4. Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol can reap havoc on your sleep. Avoid these as much as possible within a few hours of bedtime.
5. Try and incorporate physical activity into your day as this can help promote restful sleep. Avoid intense exercise too close to bedtime though as this can affect sleep quality.
6. Avoid blue light after dark, which can be challenging with the use of computers, tablets and phones. Blue light is known to inhibit melatonin production which is vital for good quality and quantity of sleep. You can try blue blocker glasses if you need to be on your computer or phone at night.