Sleeping Soundly: our top hacks for a quiet mind & a better night's sleep
Do racing thoughts keep you up at night?
Constant tossing and turning?
Feeling groggy and tired when your 7am alarm rings?
Struggle to maintain 8 hours every night?
Sleep is a key ingredient for optimal human health. Research shows that a regular shuteye is vital for regulating concentration, mood, metabolic processes, immune function and mental health. Unfortunately, the modern Western lifestyle is not conducive to a healthy sleep regimen nor does it value the importance of sleep.
Sleep deprivation is a serious condition in which a chronic sleep-restricted state can cause fatigue, daytime sleepiness, clumsiness, poor memory, reduced alertness and loss of concentration. This may be the result of insomnia, illness, work demands or a personal choice. However, it is important to remember that adequate sleep is necessary for a healthy body and healthy brain. And we've got some good news for you - there are plenty of easy behavioural measures you can take to increase the likelihood of a better night's sleep.
Sleep hygiene is the term use to describe a variety of healthy sleeping habits to kickstart and maintain a better night's sleep. We have included our top sleep hygiene hacks, based on scientific research and clinical experience, to assist your brain towards a deeper, more restful sleep.
1. Sleeping Environment
Studies show that an ideal environment for sleep is cool, dark and quiet.
Tip: Turn off all heaters before bed and use enough blankets to stay warm
Tip: Block out all light (e.g. computers, street lights) with curtains or wear an eyemask
Tip: Use earplugs to block out ambient noise
2. Regular Sleep Cycle
Establishing a regular rhythm to your sleep/wake cycle will train your body and mind to effectively and efficiently fall asleep and stay asleep.
Tip: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends.
Tip: A relaxing before-sleep ritual will help to reinforce the cycle
Tip: Remember - bed is for sleeping! if you like to use your laptop, watch TV, eat or read on your bed, your body will not learn the simple association between bed and sleep. For more information, you can read about 'stimulus control therapy' here.
Exercise, diet and stimulant consumption all play a key role in our sleep status. When we treat our body well, sleep will get easier.
Tip: Experts agree that people who engage in a physical exercise routine report better sleep compared to more sedentary individuals. Aim to exercise at least three hours before going to bed and get some sunlight to regulate your body clock.
Tip: Avoid alcohol before sleep. While some people believe that it helps them fall asleep, it actually decreases the quality of sleep, preventing REM and deep sleep from occurring.
Tip: Avoid heavy meals before bedtime as your body needs to focus on resting, not digesting.
A busy, cluttered mind is a recipe for a sleepless night. If we don't take time to wind down at the end of the day, we take our thoughts and adrenal to bed with us.
Tip: Turn off technology 1 hour before sleep. The artificial blue light emitted by mobiles, laptops and TV's tricks your internal body clock and suppresses the release of melatonin, an important sleep hormone that causes you to feel tired.
Tip: Meditation, calming music, journalling or planning the next day before sleep will help to process racing thoughts and bring about a sense of relaxation.
Tip: Neurofeedback is a safe, non-invasive therapy to improve sleep quality. Sometimes it takes a little more than sleep hygiene to achieve optimal sleep, which is why Brain Training offers an effective adjunct.
Many of our clients report getting to sleep faster, falling into a deeper sleep & feeling more refreshed when they wake in the morning.
Never underestimate the importance of sleep!
Try some of our suggestions and let us know how you go!
What are your top sleep tricks? Let us know in the comments below.
Sydney Neurofeedback Centre