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Focus On Sleep: World Sleep Day

By Stephen Maxwell March 17, 2021

Focus On Sleep: World Sleep Day

If sleep seems to elude you, you’re not alone. A survey conducted by the Sleep Health Foundation suggests that approximately 40% of Australian adults aren't getting the necessary shut-eye to function well. 

Insomnia is classed into two main categories. Which one are you?

  • Sleep onset insomnia: You can't get to sleep initially.

  • Sleep maintenance insomnia: You struggle to stay asleep throughout the night.

In honour of World Sleep Day on March 19, we bring you some well-supported tips and tricks to help you get back to feeling rested!

The World Sleep Society's 10 Tips For Better Sleep:

1. Have a regular bedtime and waking time

When you give your body a regular sleep and waking time, then you will naturally start to be sleepy and alert at certain times. This chemical drive from within your body can be enough to get the kind of shut-eye you need for optimal performance and health.

2. Have a nap if you need to

Though you should limit your naps to under an hour, if you're struggling, a quick nap is a time-tested way to give yourself an energy boost without the negative effects of caffeine. 

3. Watch your workout routine

We all know exercise is key to a healthy mind and healthy body, but too close to bedtime and it can end up making you feel more alert - not the best state to be in when you're trying to wind down for the evening! Ideally, keep your training routine to first thing in the morning, when cortisol is at its highest. If you can't, then training after work is fine, as long as you're not doing intense exercise within 2 hours of bedtime. If you still feel the need to move about, try a gentle yoga or stretching session, that will help calm the nervous system and give your muscles the relaxation for the evening.

4. Create a cut-off time for caffeine

Caffeine is a globally loved stimulant, which is great for that morning pep-me-up but not so ideal when you're staring at the ceiling each night. Keep your caffeine use to before 12PM so that the caffeine has time to work itself through your body - the half-life of caffeine is approximately 5 hours!

5. Change your bedtime snack

Lay off the salty chips and sugar-filled chocolate - though you may feel like you 'deserve' them at the end of a long day, highly processed foods can interfere with getting to sleep. Planning on having a big meal? Make sure you have it at least 4 hours before bed, so your body has time to digest it. That way, you can slip into a deeper sleep without your digestion trying to work overtime to break down food.

6. Adopt a healthier lifestyle when it comes to substance use

Alcohol and other substances can cause havoc on your sleep-wake cycles. By limiting your use, especially just before bed, you can give your body the natural support it needs for deep sleep.

7. Use comfortable, inviting bedding

Nothing is worse than a mattress that is too hard or too soft for your body. You spend a third of your life in bed, so why not invest in a high-quality mattress that is perfect for your body. A good way to test whether your mattress is too hard or soft is to lie on it facing up. Place two of your fingers behind the small of your back and see if there's a gap - if they fit in easily, then there's no problem. If you struggle to slide them in then the mattress may be too soft for you. If there's too much of a gap, then it may be too hard for your body.

8. Find the best sleep temperature for you and keep the room well ventilated

Temperature is one of the top culprits interrupting a good night's sleep. Most people function best if the temperature in the room is between 16-19 degrees celsius, but you'll have to experiment with what works best for you. 

If you're coughing and sneezing during the night, it's time to check the ventilation. Make sure you have plenty of fresh air coming in during the day, and to address any lingering allergies. It may be worth looking at hypoallergenic bedding and investing in an air purifier! If you don't have much noise around, you can even sleep with the window slightly open to ensure a smooth passage of air.

9. Block distracting noises and eliminate light where possible

If you've ever lived next to a busy highway, next to partying neighbours or with a loud snorer, then you know the struggle. Use sleep-specific earplugs if you can't eliminate the source of the noise, or invest in white-noise machines that can help drown them out (a fan works great too!). 

While you're at it, invest in blackout curtains to keep street lights and sunlight out - especially if you're not planning on waking up at the crack of dawn! By encouraging darkness at night, you'll be promoting healthy levels of melatonin in your brain, needed for you to get the signal to sleep.

10. Reserve your bed for sleep and sex, and don't use it for work or general recreation.

Watching YouTube in bed every night? Find yourself flicking through e-mails when you should be getting shut-eye? It's time to make a change! Help your brain associate your bed with rest and relaxation. By choosing to use your bed only for sleep and sex, you're helping your brain make those necessary neuro connections that'll prime you for superior shut-eye. 

Want Extra Support?

Our Top Sleep Supplements:

 

References:

World Sleep Day March 19, 2021. 2021. World Sleep Day March 19, 2021. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 March 2021].

Sleephealthfoundation.org.au. 2021. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 March 2021].

Sleephealthfoundation.org.au. 2021. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 March 2021]..

The Nutrition Source. 2020. Sleep Deprivation And Obesity. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 March 2021]. 


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