A new study has revealed that as we age, our circadian rhythm shifts and we feel tired later. So whereas young children need around 11-13 hours of rest a night, teenagers require around nine hours of sleep compared to when we reach adulthood and need about 8.
Unfortunately due to our modern lifestyles, work pressure, stress, and anxiety, many of us fail to ‘switch off’ effectively and get the correct amount of rest our bodies need. So if you are struggling to sleep or looking to perfect your nightly routine, try these 5 tips to help you enter the land of nod and reset your body more easily…
1) Reduce your exposure to blue light
Guilty of checking your emails late at night? Scrolling through Facebook before bed? Or even just binge-watching that series on Netflix? Although exposure to natural light throughout the day is good for us, blue light has the opposite effect, tricking our bodies into thinking its daytime and making it harder to switch off. So make a rule to switch off the laptop a couple of hours before bedtime, leave your phone downstairs when you go to bed and switch to reading a book rather than watching another episode of your favorite show. You can also try installing an app that blocks blue light on your smartphone if you really feel you need to have your iPhone or android nearby.
2) Stay away from late-night caffeine
When you have been on the go all day, it can be tempting to have a cup of coffee before bed. But due to coffee’s ability to stimulate our nervous system, it significantly stops our body from relaxing at night. Watch out for tea also- many teas such as green tea and English breakfast also contain caffeine. Instead, choose a hot drink like peppermint or Chamomile tea which are naturally caffeine-free and soothing. A warm cup of cocoa as a nice treat once in a while will also help promote better sleep.
3) Get into an evening routine
Just like most of us have conditioned our bodies to wake up at a certain time each morning, having a consistent bedtime each night helps our body’s circadian rhythm function on a set loop and has been proven to aid long-term sleep and also improve the quality of that sleep. So set a bedtime and stick to it!
4) Make your bedroom into a relaxing environment
In order to experience a good night’s sleep the environment which you are attempting to sleep is really important: cluttered, light, noisy, hot rooms and even certain furniture arrangements can prevent sleep, so address these issues if they are a part of your bedroom experience. Invest in a good quality blind or eye mask, keep your room minimal, open windows to allow fresh air into the room before bed, but close at night especially if you live near busy roads. You could also try burning incense half an hour or so before bed (look out for ones that focus on relaxation) or spray lavender on your pillow.
5) Listen to a Binaural Beat Guided Sleep Practice
Binaural beats have been proven to assist those experiencing sleep difficulties by increasing our state of relaxation. A binaural beat is the frequency difference between the waves entering the left & right ear, which allows our brain to process a beat at the difference of the frequencies. Dr. Jeremy Alford a Clinical Psychologist with over 20 years of mental health experience has produced a ‘Binaural Beat Guided Sleep Practice’ you can use to aid a better night’s sleep. It is recommended you are lying down in a comfortable position and use noise-blocking headphones to get the most out of the recording. You can download the audio file from Insight Timer here: https://insighttimer.com/jeremyalford/guided-meditations/a-binaural-beat-guided-sleep-meditation
As well as helping those struggling with poor sleep patterns, Jeremy leads Choices Personalized Retreats Program which focuses on using a combination of CBT & Mindfulness practices to help those experiencing issues such as stress, burnout, anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. You can find out more about the program offered by browsing through the website and/or contacting: https://www.choicesretreats.com/