I did a little poll on my Instagram last week about sleep, I asked how long people slept and whether they felt rested upon waking. The majority fell in the 6-8 hr category but only 56% of the people that slept a full 6-8hrs felt rested upon waking.
Given these stats I thought I’d do a little blog on some of the ways we can improve our sleep and what role sleep actually plays in our wellbeing- I mean we all know what it feels like when we don’t get enough shut eye but what really goes on when we enter the land of slumber?
Well, it’s said that we cycle through 5 stages of sleep, each of which stimulate a unique process and mechanism within in the body. I won’t get into all the in’s and out’s of how that works, instead I’ll keep it basic and link to a couple of articles at the bottom if you want to know more.
The five stages fall into two types of sleep (and you’ve probably heard these before) REM and NREM sleep. REM sleep stands for Rapid Eye Movement sleep and this is where we’re at our deepest stage of sleep and only makes up about 20%-25% of our total sleep cycle. Interestingly it only occurs in the later stages of slumber. The majority of our sleep cycle occurs in the NREM stage.
If we’re experiencing interrupted sleep our ability to get into these deeper phases means we miss out on our restorative sleep, which over time can affect everything from energy to libido to hormones, mood and body composition.
So what simple things can we do to improve our sleep?
1. Have a Digital sunset- you’ve know doubt heard that blue light isn’t ideal for our bodies later at night as it can interfere with our bodies ability to release the right hormones for winding down. If screen time is a must, I recommend using an app called FLUX and using blue blocking glasses (Baxter Blue are my go to’s they’re stylish and effective)
2. Essential oils- in particular Lavender, Roman Chamomile and Vetiver. dOTERRA is my oil brand of choice and if you’ve been contemplating bringing some oily goodness into your world, I’d love to help you.
3. Eat your last meal 3-4 hrs before slumber- sleep is the bodies restoration time and it will naturally prioritise digestion over repair if it has to, that’s why eating earlier in the evening can assist the body in getting into those deeper sleep phases.
4. Movement- movement supports sooo many bodily processes and sleep is no exception. Moving 30-60mins a day should be a non negotiable.
5. Sunshine- get out into natural sunlight at the beginning of the day to set your circadian rhythm (this is the bodies natural wake/sleep cycle).
6. Earthing- this is especially helpful for those who spend a lot of time behind screens and on devices- as these can cause free radical damage. Walking bare foot on the ground is said to help the body diffuse and rebalance the effects of these external forces.
7. Magnesium- magnesium plays a role in over 300 biochemical bodily processes. Many of which inadvertently have the ability to affect sleep. When looking to supplement with magnesium I’d recommend the ate’s. My go to is by ATP science but of course always seek guidance before starting any new supplement regime.
There we have it my top 7 tips, they’re super simple but can be total game changers to a good nights shut eye! What was your top take-away and what are you going to apply?
Share with me in the comments.