With the hustle and bustle of life – work, friends, family – one might easily disregard a good night’s sleep. But, as researchers have found, sleep may be the key to a healthy lifestyle, noting that poor sleep quality can lead to increased risk of obesity, heart disease and infection. Here are four important rituals to undertake before you reach for the covers.
Reduce Blue Light Exposure
In a world where our devices are attached to the hip, it can be hard to put the phone down and rest. And even if you do have the self-discipline necessary for such an action, you might be quickly jolted by the familiar ping sound associated with all your favourite apps. However, you might feel less inclined to refresh the gram when you discover Stacey’s new selfie is telling your brain to stay awake. Blue light, commonly associated with our electronic devices, can actually trick your brain into thinking its daytime. To avoid messing with your body’s natural circadian rhythm, consider turning off television, laptop and phone devices one to two hours before bed. Alternatively, change your device settings to night-time mode or invest in a pair of blue-light blocking sunglasses.
Lower Bedroom Temperature
Although you might feel most sleepy sitting next to a heater (or under your favourite blanket) studies show that our bedroom temperature could be what’s keeping us awake at night. In fact, studies have shown a positive correlation between mild heat exposure and increased wakefulness in the night. Everyone will have their own temperature preferences, but around 20 degrees Celsius (or 70 degrees Fahrenheit) is your best bet to a better night’s rest.
Ever have those nights where every embarrassing thing you ever did is now circulating your brain like some humiliating comedy routine? You’re not alone. With multiple studies into the relationship between anxiety and sleep, it’s safe to say your racing mind isn’t doing you any favours. Mindfulness is a psychological technique used around the world, from mental health professionals to Buddhist monks. It involves calming the mind by staying in the present moment and gently redirect any thoughts that stray from sensations associated with the five senses.
Listen to Slow Music
It’s not a coincidence we feel better after listening to our favourite songs. Music engages our parasympathetic nervous system, the part of our body responsible for slowing our heartrate, lowering blood pressure and even muscle relaxation. These are all biological processes we naturally experience while falling asleep, which goes to show how important music should be in our night-time routines. Although any familiar sound can promote such effects, its recommended to listen to music which reaches 60 – 80 beats per minute, like classical, jazz or folk tunes.
Sweet dreams, and see you in the astral realm!