Apex Tips for Better SleepMaddy Slade | 9 Aug 2021
Ahh, a good night’s sleep, nothing can beat it. Sleep does wonders, both for our mental and physical health. When we are asleep, the body can repair itself, and the mind has a chance to recharge and store new information. According to The Sleep Foundation, the ideal amount of time we should be sleeping is approximately 7-9 hours per night. However, sometimes falling and staying asleep can be a real struggle and can lead to anxiety the next day. We all know that feeling the morning after an awful night’s sleep, the brain fog and exhaustion, wishing the day away so you can forget it all and get back into bed.
Sleep shouldn’t have to be a constant battle! We have put together some of our favourite tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your sleep. That way, your body can function at its optimum level, and you can wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed again.
Avoid drinking too much before bed:
It’s really important to stay hydrated throughout the day, but it’s also wise to avoid drinking too much water before bed, as your sleep will likely be disturbed by a bathroom break or two. Alcohol could also be the culprit here - this may sound surprising as alcohol can make us feel sleepy and cause us to fall asleep faster. Still, it affects the quality and duration of our sleep, as your body works hard to metabolise it throughout the night. So if you find yourself falling asleep with no problem but struggle to stay asleep, this could be the culprit!
Have Your Caffeine In the AM:
We love a good cup of coffee in the morning, and sometimes an afternoon pick me up is necessary to get us through the day, but it’s a good idea to avoid drinking caffeine after 3 pm. Caffeine has a half-life of 6-8 hours which means it stays in our system much longer than we may feel the effects. According to Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep, caffeine decreases the quality of your sleep regardless of whether you fall asleep easily or not. So even if you love an espresso after dinner and fall asleep no problem - you might not wake up feeling refreshed!
Watch Matthew Walker’s Ted Talk: How Caffeine and Alcohol Affect Your Sleep for more info.
Keep a regular sleep schedule (where possible)
Your body will thank you if you stick to a regular sleep schedule. Try to listen to your body, go to bed when you’re actually feeling tired and (in an ideal world) wake up naturally without an alarm. This might not always be possible but perhaps on a weekend or holiday, practice figuring out your own body’s optimal sleep time. Then you can figure out a schedule that works best for you, and in those hours leading up to bedtime, your body will naturally begin to unwind and start relaxing. You should hopefully find waking up easier too! We know life isn’t always predictable and doesn’t tend to follow our set routines as much as we’d like it to, but there’s something to be said for good intentions!
Create a BedTime Ritual
You can have fun with this one! Creating a regular bedtime routine will signal to your body that it’s time to relax and unwind. If scents are something that help you switch off and calm you, perhaps invest in some aromatherapy oils or a candle to set the mood. We love a cup of herbal tea such as chamomile or peppermint and a good magnesium bath soak in the evening to really unwind and prepare our bodies for bed. Try experimenting with this one and see what works for you!
Put that phone away
The blue light from our phones, or any screens for that matter, disrupts our body’s natural production of melatonin, an important hormone our body produces to help us sleep. When we see light, our body’s natural inclination is to keep us alert. The evening is an excellent time to get that mood lighting going...light a candle, set the mood.
Among the numerous benefits of exercise, it’s also fantastic for sleep. According to this study, exercise nearly halved the amount of time it took participants to fall asleep. Avoid high-intensity workouts directly before bed - these workouts spike the stress hormone cortisol, which can trigger your body’s ‘fight or flight response’, making it much harder for you to fall asleep. If your preferred workout style is intense, try to keep these workouts to the AM. A great practice to introduce before bed would be some gentle stretching or yin yoga, which will help your body relax and recover and help the mind unwind.
It can be much more difficult to get a restful night’s sleep if you are too hot. We know this one isn’t always in our control but if you can, try and keep your sleep environment cool, 20 degrees celsius seems to be optimum temperature for most people. Perhaps it’s worth investing in a fan and swapping your normal duvet for a light sheet during the hottest summer months to help you keep cool.
What to do after a bad night’s sleep
If you do find yourself unsatisfied after a lousy night’s sleep, here are some things that might help you feel better the next day -
Eat healthy, nutritious food
Get some sun - this helps counter your sleepless night and sets your body clock right again. It’s important to not spend the day sleeping, or you may be setting yourself up for another sleepless night, disrupting your bodyclock further. If you can, take a power nap.
Light exercise - It’s important to keep this short, between 20-30 minutes. This can help make you feel more alert. More than this might disrupt your sleep later that night and also may leave you feeling groggier than where you started.
Try not to stress about it, you’ve gotten through a day like this before and you can do it again! Worrying about how bad the day is going to be and obsessing over how terrible you feel isn’t going to undo the night before it will just make the situation worse.
We do hope these tips will help you get a bit more rested so you can wake up and smash the day, sleep well A-Team!