There are a few essentials for a good night’s sleep that everyone should include in their life; try to keep your going to bed and waking times similar all week in order to protect your circadian rhythm, create a sleep-friendly environment in your bedroom and maintain a healthy pre-bedtime routine. 

Your circadian rhythm is controlled by your hypothalamus and cycles between sleepiness and alertness all day long.  Not only does it tell you when you’re ready for bed, it’s responsible for that post-lunchtime energy dip.  Darkness triggers the hypothalamus to release melatonin, the hormone responsible for making you feel sleepy.  Paying attention to when you feel tired will help you establish your ideal times for going to bed and waking up.  Sticking to these times, even over the weekend, will help reduce sleepless nights and tiredness during the day.  Also, make sure you don’t hit that snooze button more than once! 

Make your bedroom a sanctuary – remember it’s not an extension of your living room or office!  Seasonal changes in sunrise/sunset times can inhibit the release in melatonin so if you’re affected by the light outside invest in black-out window dressings or a sleep mask.  Avoid electronic screens like the plague – the blue light that they emit also suppresses melatonin.   

Room temperature should be cool, around 16-18°C.  Too hot and you’ll have a restless night, too cold and you’ll struggle to drop off.  Did you know if you have cold feet, you may really struggle to get to sleep?  Wearing socks in bed will increase dilation of the blood vessels, telling your brain its bedtime!  Make sure you have a comfortable mattress and that, if you share it with a partner, that you both have room to move around without touching each other.   

A dedicated bedtime routine may sound like a luxury you don’t have time for but if you’re struggling to get to sleep, it’s worth investing the time.  Limiting your caffeine intake to before lunch is beneficial.  Exercise daily, preferably between 4 and 7pm, even light exercise will improve your sleep.  A warm bath an hour before bedtime helps as well, but not a hot one which can have the opposite effect.  Keep your lights as low as you can for the hour leading up to bedtime.  Practicing relaxing yoga. reading for half an hour before going to sleep and meditation can all help set you up for a good night’s sleep.   

Remember that old adage – never go to bed angry?  That’s good advice to follow.  If you’ve had an argument with someone close to you, try and resolve it before bedtime.  If that’s not possible, keep a journal you can write unresolved emotions in, including anger, stress and anxiety.  Writing out a quick to-do list for the next day will also clear your mind before bedtime.   

Why not join us on March 16th @ 7pm for our Sweet Dreams Yogic Sleep workshop. The amazing and very experienced Nina Rashid is hosting this special workshop in aid of National Sleep Awareness week. In this workshop, Nina will  gentle guide and advise you on lots of tips and tools to help in getting the best out of your sleep routine and to having those sweet dreams we all need in today's craziness.  Ending with a blissful Yoga Nidra to fall straight into your bed with!!