Imagine that when you open your eyes in the morning, your mind is refreshed and you can immediately jump out of bed. Your eyes are clear and bright, and there are no signs of eye bags. After putting on your power suit, you make a quick check at the time. You are early for the meeting scheduled at 11am! If only every day is like today!
Would you like to have many days like that too?
The unfortunate fact is that, most people find it difficult to get out of bed once the alarm rings and they look dead tired when they start their day. Once lunch is over, they have a tendency to fall asleep and have poor concentration. This is the time when they drink the most cups of Nescafe, and struggle with the task on hand.
What can you do if this scenario seems familiar to you?
Firstly, bedtime routine is part of sleep hygiene and helps us to prepare psychologically and physically for sleep. Try out these tips that may help you:
• Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol late in the day
• Eat the last meal of the day at least 2 hours before bedtime
• Cut down or avoid fluids at least one hour before bedtime
• Engage in exercise but avoid vigorous activity too close to bedtime
• Don't watch television in bed
• Relax your mind before bedtime
• Create a bedroom environment that enhances sleep
• Get up at the same time everyday
• Avoid daytime naps
Do you know…?
Relaxation is an important part of preparing for sleep. People who are plagued by a continuous stream of thoughts near bedtime can try listening to soothing music, relaxation tapes or meditation.
Our body temperature also plays an important role in determining the quality of sleep we have during the night. Our body temperature falls naturally towards the end of the day as we prepare to sleep. Having a warm bath, at least an hour before going to bed, can help raise the core body temperature and decreasing the transition time to sleep. Water has a relaxing effect on us, which also enhances sleepiness.
Exercising can also help to improve sleep. Physical exercise tires us out and results in the release of chemicals and hormones in the body that produce better quality sleep. Exercising in the afternoon rather than exercising close to bedtime is encouraged.
Having the right diet is important because we are what we eat. Inculcating the habit to have more fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet can help promote sleep. As a first step, it’s a good idea to decrease the amount of stimulants you take in your body. Caffeinated drinks, chocolate, fizzy drinks, alcohol and nicotine, refined white sugar, junk or fast food, will lead to heartburn, dehydration, irritation of digestive process and irregularities in the heartbeat, if they are in our system for a long term. All of which can contribute to wakefulness.
We also need to include a plentiful supply of vitamins and minerals in your diet. Therefore, eating food with high vitamin B content is vital. Vitamin B can be found in leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, lean meat and wheat germ. Grapefruit juice, apples, apricots and honey have also been found helpful in promoting sleep. At the same time, having food rich in calcium and magnesium can also encourage the relaxation we need for sleep.
Are you curious whether you are having sufficient vitamins and minerals in your body? Would you like to enquire whether you are eating the right food for your body?
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I wish you a good night's sleep,