Ah Sleep, the unsung hero of health! A good relationship with sleep not only boosts your mood, your concentration levels and your immune system but it can also help to reduce stress, anxiety & depression, improve relationships with others (let’s be honest, we’ve all said things we don’t mean when we’re sleep deprived!), increase productivity and memory function, maintain a healthy weight and lower our risk of serious health problems.
You might have noticed that your sleep has been affected by the unfolding events that have taken place across the Globe in the past 12 months and trust me, you’re not alone. Disrupted routines and ongoing uncertainty are contributing to a surge in insomnia and poor sleep patterns.
So, during a time of heightened stress & anxiety, how can we improve our relationship with sleep to start reaping some of these health benefits? Often the answer can be found in your routine & environment. Spring is the perfect time to create new healthy habits, enjoy more daylight & rescue your relationship with sleep… here’s how:
- Refresh your sleeping environment & give your bedroom a spring clean. Creating a clean, clutter-free space helps you to unwind more naturally when you get into bed.
- Invest in rest and treat yourself to a diffuser, scented candles, essential oils or a salt lamp to help to create a safe haven that you can’t wait to retreat to at the end of the day!
- Be mindful of what you consume before bed. Try to avoid stimulants like coffee, sugar or alcohol in the evenings and if possible, try to eat dinner early. Eating closer to bedtime can negatively affect the quality of your sleep & the release of melatonin. (Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps to control your sleep cycle).
- Try to stick to a regular time that you go to bed and you get up. It might take a week or so to settle into but our bodies respond really well to routine. Your body’s circadian rhythm (the internal clock that helps tell your body and brain when it’s time to stay awake and when to sleep by responding to light changes in the environment) naturally aligns with sunrise and sunset, so being as consistent as possible with the time you wake up and go to bed can massively improve the quality of your sleep in the long run.
- Get outside as much as you can! As the nights get shorter and the days get longer (woo hoo!) now is the perfect time to get out in nature. Natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy.
- Take a break from your phone or devices before you want to go to sleep so your brain can start to wind-down before bed. Looking at blue light (the light emitted by phones & computers) or bright lights before sleep can trick your circadian rhythm into thinking you still need to be awake, coupled with non-stop alerts, adverts & notifications it’s no surprise that your brain stays active and you have trouble getting to sleep…
- Add a new healthy habit to your evening routine like Yoga, Meditation, Journalling or Breath-work. Gentle movement, quieting the mind and helping to switch off before you go to bed can have an incredible impact on the quality of your sleep and deepen your slumber.
Why not try our new YouTube Class!
YOGA FOR BETTER SLEEP with Fern Miller, THURSDAYS 8.00-8.30pm
A perfect way to wind down your day. This 30 mins mindful practice is designed to help anyone feeling stressed, anxious or holds tension in the mind or body. Prepare to feel relaxed and ready for a good night’s sleep.
About the writer, Liz Joy Oakley
Liz Joy Oakley is Yoga Teacher, Holistic Wellbeing Coach and Head of Vibes at MoreYoga, co-running our MoreMind Project with Stephanie Minchin, coordinating events, content and workshops focused on better supporting our communities mental and physical wellbeing. After starting her career in the fast-paced world of luxury fashion Liz came to Yoga after being diagnosed with Malignant Hypertension and Generalized Anxiety and left with the goal of helping others to lead healthier lives holistically. Liz went on to spent a year working at the Safe Childhoods Foundation in Indonesia, an NGO committed to combatting organized crimes against children, she began to understand the true benefits of Yoga, Meditation and Psychology as therapeutic tools and describes this as a time of total transformation.
Now back in London, Liz is passionate about helping people achieve a healthier, happier lifestyle through her work. She loves bringing people together, encouraging authentic connection and is happiest when facilitating retreats, workshops and events based around Yoga, Positive Psychology and Holistic Wellbeing.
Liz teaches Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin & Restorative Yoga, specialising in teaching Yoga, Mindfulness & Meditation to improve stress & anxiety. She combines this with her work as a Holistic Wellbeing Coach & is dedicated to spreading Joy through her work.
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