There is nothing like a good night’s sleep. Yet for most people getting that good night’s sleep is not that easy. We may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
We associate sleep with lazy or sick people. We associate success with keeping busy or being on the go. Common sayings like ‘’I’ll sleep when I am dead’’ and ‘’success doesn’t sleep’’ creates a toxic misconception about rest.
Sleep is the most underrated pillar of health. It is as important as a balanced diet or regular exercise.
Apart from making you feel cranky, a good night’s sleep has numerous benefits. While we are in dreamland our bodies heal and repair themselves.
Health Benefits of a good night’s sleep
- Sleep is linked to brain function. A lack of sleep can affect memory, productivity and concentration.
- Sleep is linked to the hormones responsible for appetite: leptin and ghrelin. Getting a good night’s sleep can help you consume fewer calories.
- Sleep regulates blood pressure. High BP is a risk factor for heart disease.
- Sleep can boost your immune system.
- Lack of sleep contributes to a lack of energy.
- Better sleep is associated with a better mood. A lack of sleep can leave you feeling irritable and can contribute to anxiety.
There are many factors that may contribute to us not getting enough sleep. Here are some natural tips that may help you sleep better.
Natural tips for a good night’s sleep
- Develop and maintain a good sleep routine. This means going to bed and getting up at the same time every day – even on weekends. This trains your biological clock. Sleeping in on the weekends is actually counter-productive for your internal clock. It may actually cause you to feel more tired come Monday morning.
- Cut down on caffeine. Cut it out after 2 pm. Caffeine is a stimulant. It stays in your system for about 8 hours. It may prevent you from falling asleep or having a deep sleep. This also applies to soft drinks and chocolate.
- Decrease screen time at least one hour before bed. Use a blue light filter if your device has one. Use amber glasses to block out blue light if you must use your device.
- Use the time before bed to wind down. Put the TV off. Keep your phone aside. Start to prep for the next day by laying out your clothes or packing your lunch. Do your nighttime beauty routine. Brush your teeth. Lie in bed and read a book or practise deep breathing before trying to sleep.
- Use an eye mask to block out light while you sleep.
- Aim to get natural light early in the morning. Aim to expose yourself to a minimal amount of light two hours before bed.
- The ideal room temperature for sleep is 18-22 Celsius. Wear breathable material of clothing e.g. Cotton.
- Journal before bed if you feel that you have a lot on your mind. Or write down a to-do list for the next day if you are feeling nervous or anxious ahead of a busy day.
- If you awake in the middle of the night: try to lie there in the dark. Do not start scrolling on your phone. The blue light on your phone will make things worse. Do some deep breathing. Or sit up in the dark and do some gentle stretching or self-massage.
Sleep affects how we look, feel and perform on a daily basis. It has a major impact on the quality of our lives. When we get enough sleep we feel energised and rejuvenated. Don’t underestimate what a good night’s sleep can do for your body!
Guest Post by
Larissa Seebran is a pharmacist, employed full time at a public hospital in Durban. She is a prominent blogger in Durban and loves to talk about skincare and women’s wellness on her blog and Instagram @lady.larissa