Written by Shea Morrison, Co-Founder
As the Co-Founder of The Goodnight Co., I often get asked for my tips on how to sleep well and what are the best products to assist? As someone who needs at least 8 hours of good sleep a night I know all the sleep tips available and can certainly share those with you.
It's important to first understand that sleep is incredibly important, and getting quality sleep is non-negotiable. A national enquiry by the Australian Government in 2019 found alongside nutrition and exercise, sleep is the third pillar of health.
So why is sleep important?
The benefits of sleep are extensive but here are just a few:
- Sleep improves your immune function
- Sleep reduces inflammation
- Sleep impacts to your ability to interact socially and your mental health
- Sleep improves memory, concentration and productivity
- Sleep is even linked to physical health and weight regulation
How can you start sleeping well?
Sleep Tip 1: Routine, routine, routine
My first sleep tip is to establish a consistent and solid routine. If you are someone who goes to bed at a different time every night and wakes up at a different time every morning, then you may find it hard to get a good night’s sleep. Consistency in your sleep / wake cycle is just as important as routine. Sleep is very personal and what works for one may differ for another. Start by establishing how many hours of sleep you need each night – so when do you feel your best and how many hours sleep did you have? I know that I really need at least 7 – 8 hours each night. Then you can work back from there on what time you want to wake each morning and therefore what time you need to go to bed. The next step is establishing your routine, how can you wind down and de-stress each night to prepare yourself for your best night’s sleep.
Here are my 3 suggestions:
- Cut out all technology (screens / TV’s / laptops / phones) at least an hour before bed (2 hours is ideal).
- Dim the lights or turn off any excess lights in your house after dinner to allow your body to adjust to softer / less light. This will send a signal to the body that it is time to start preparing for sleep. While light is ideal early in the day as it stimulates the body and mind, encouraging feelings of wakefulness, alertness and energy, we don’t want these same feelings at night when we are winding down for sleep. Light exposure during the evening can make it harder to fall asleep.
- Read a real book – this is not the ideal time to be using a kindle or device but a real book with a lamp (for the dim light). According to the University of Sussex reading a real book can help reduce stress levels by 68%. I don’t know about you, but reading a real book definitely puts me to sleep, I find I can’t get past around 10 pages.. give it a go!
Sleep Tip 2: Morning sunlight
The second sleep tip is to get moving in the morning outside in the sun. Research from the Lighting Research Centre at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York, found that people who were exposed to greater amounts of light during the morning hours, between 8am and noon, fell asleep more quickly at night and had fewer sleep disturbances during the night compared to those exposed to low light in the morning. People getting more morning light were also less likely to report feelings of depression and stress. If you are working during the day, try to incorporate either looking out a window or going for a walk outside at lunchtime, this will be sure to help get your extra exposure to light during the day.
Sleep Tip 3: Manage stress and anxiety
The third tip is to find ways to manage any stress or anxiety you have. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you’re having trouble sleeping because you’re anxious, or you’re anxious because you can’t sleep. The answer may be both. It’s a two-way street, stress and anxiety can cause sleeping problems, or worsen existing ones. But lack of sleep can also cause anxiety disorders. Here are some ways you can help reduce your stress or anxiety. Take time to wind down and create a sleep routine, a healthy bedtime routine allows your body and mind time to slow down before lights out. Take at least half an hour to unwind. Add exercise to your day, people who exercise regularly fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. Jot down your to do list in your head on paper – instead of letting your brain swirl with all the things that you don’t want to forget, write them down so your brain can relax (more journaling tips here).
I know that so many people out there are really struggling with sleep and I can’t recommend enough to you how important it is to really start to prioritise sleep. Once you start to build your routine, create consistent sleep / wake times and remain relaxed and excited about getting a good night’s sleep the rest will fall into place. You will start to fill so good!
For more ways to support your sleep head to The Journal. For even more sleep tips, advice and support, join our closed Facebook Group, The Goodnight Community.