Everyone sleeps, but are you doing it well?
I know what you’re thinking. Can you do it wrong? And the answer is, yes. There are two main factors that come into play when judging sleep; one is the length and the second is the quality. The first is an easy 7-8 hours a night, but the quality, that’s something we can’t control, right? Well, actually, you can…
When it comes to the standard of your sleep, you don’t have to take it lying down. There are a number of things you can do to ensure you’re getting the rest your body needs. And the best news? You can start them tonight!
#1 Switch it off
I’ll start with the step that many will find the hardest: turning off your TV and mobile phone. You may think that scrolling through Instagram or watching a David Attenborough documentary helps you to unwind, but it’s actually telling your brain to stay awake. Blue light exposure is to blame for this. All of our favourite digital devices emit short-wavelength-enriched light that affects levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, which in turn delays our body going into ‘sleep mode’.
If you’re serious about getting the best night’s sleep you should step away from your devices 2 hours before bed. And, if you have to go on your phone, switch it to night mode. This mode adjusts the display so that it gives a warmer, less blue light.
#2 Rinse The Day Away
If there’s one thing we can all agree on it’s that a warm shower or bath at the end of a long, hard day is the ultimate bliss. This is partly because we want to wash away the dirt and grime of the day, but also because the warm temperature of the water helps to relax us – there’s nothing more comforting than putting on pyjamas after a shower!
Think of showering (or taking a bath if you prefer) as a segue to sleep. Use all of your favourite cleansing products and let the water wash away the stresses of the day. I can’t, (or rather, won’t) take a shower without my favourite Nuxe Prodigieux Precious Scented Shower Oil – it smells glorious and makes my skin feel amazing.
#3 Kick caffeine after lunch
Did you know caffeine can stay at elevated levels in your blood for 6-8 hours? That means the coffee you’re drinking to help you power through your last hour of work at 4 pm is still having an effect on you come bedtime.
The solution? Keep caffeine consumption to the mornings. After lunchtime, switch to decaffinated and you can rest assured that when you hop into bed your mind will be calm and relaxed.
#4 Have a pre-sleep ritual
When I was younger ‘bedtime’ was a blissful part of the day and one that had multiple steps. A bath was followed by pyjamas, then came brushing my teeth, followed by the most important step: a bedtime story. But as I’ve grown up that ‘ritual’ has turned into a race. A ‘how quickly can I get into bed’ race.
This slap-dash approach to sleep isn’t good for anyone, especially your relaxation levels. I’m not going to suggest you ask your partner to read you a chapter of your favourite novel as you drift off, but what I do suggest is having a pre-sleep pampering session. This needn’t be a lengthy one, it could just be using your favourite hand cream or eye cream before you lay your head to rest.
My pre-sleep routine no matter what time I hit the hay is: apply a generous layer of the famous Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream to my lips, followed by a few spritzes of the La Roche Posay Thermal Spring Water – I keep them both on my bedside table within easy reach!