5 top tips to send you off to sleep
Isabel is a sleep consultant and founder of the sleepy Armadillo. She will be speaking for Umbrella Wellness online clients on March, 15th at 1PM.
Sleep: Your Superpower by Isabel Malynicz
You will spend on average one third of your life asleep. Have you ever asked yourself what happens whilst you sleep? Do you know why you sleep?
For many years, we thought sleep was simply the absence of wakefulness; we “switched off”, “shut down” and went into some sort of temporary daily hibernation. In fact, sleep science tells us that whilst you sleep your brain and body are hard at work cleaning toxic brain waste, balancing your hormones, repairing cells, improving metabolic health, processing learning and memories, regulating emotions and improving heart health. Surely sleep is the mother of all wellness elixirs, and free to us all each and every night!
Unfortunately, although it is available to all of us, there are many adults who struggle to get sufficient quality sleep. Research on more than 13,000 people by Laya Healthcare has revealed almost 80% of people in Ireland are sleep deprived.
If you struggle to get to sleep or wake up frequently throughout the night and are not able to return to sleep, here are my 5 top tips to send you off to sleep:
Sleep is generated by sleep pressure or drive. Put simply, the longer you are awake, the more sleep pressure you accumulate. Go to bed only when you are droopy-eyed with sleepiness. Preemptively going to bed to widen the sleep opportunity can lead to frustration and anxiety because your body is biologically not ready to sleep. Try not to confuse fatigue from sleepiness and be led by your sleepy cues rather than the clock.
Set a consistent wake up (and out of bed) time regardless of how you slept or whether it is a workday or a weekend. Your circadian body clock loves routine, and this daily reset will ensure you don't carry over a poor night's sleep into the next night. If you can get 15 minutes of daylight with no filter within the first hour of waking, even better!
Use your bed for sleep and sex only. Other activities such as watching tele, eating, working etc , all promote a wakeful association with your cozy sleep sanctuary.
If you cannot sleep for longer than about 20-30 minutes and feel anxious about not sleeping, get out of bed and engage in a relaxing and enjoyable activity, and only return to bed once you are droopy-eyed with sleepiness again. These activities can be watching a series, reading, drawing, meditating etc.
Sleep is the only activity not rewarded with effort. The more you try the more sleep will elude you. Let it be, avoid chasing sleep and make the most of your wakeful hours. Move each day in whatever form that comes, eat lots of nutrient rich foods and be sure to build in a decompression hour before heading to bed.
These small behavioral changes can, over time, make a big difference to the quantity and quality of your sleep. You can regain your ultimate superpower once again!
Sleep well readers.
Isabel Malynicz is a Sleep Consultant and Founder of The Sleepy Armadillo, a business that supports adults to get the quality sleep they need. She works both privately with clients, and within businesses to support the wellbeing of their employees.
You can learn more about how Isabel supports people to return to restorative and refreshing sleep via: