Think routines are boring? Think again.
Your life depends on routines. Breathing is one good example. Sleep is another. Both are vital – indeed, non-negotiable – for a long, happy and healthy life. Yet only one is skimped on or occasionally toyed with as being ‘optional’.
Let’s face it, who hasn’t burned the proverbial candle at both ends, putting off zzzs to finish a university/work assignment or binge-watch Netflix? We’re only human, after all – the only mammals on the planet who willingly delay sleep!
While occasional sleep deprivation is understandable and, sometimes, unavoidable (#hello #parenthood), in the long term it increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular conditions and cancer, as well as impairing sound judgement, productivity and mental health. Concerns all raised in the bi-partisan Parliamentary Inquiry into Sleep Health Awareness in Australia (psst: we’ve done the hard work for you, and summarised its findings here).
Taking the position that sleep is a fundamental human right and biological need, the inquiry sounded an alarm bell that four in 10 Australians are regularly sleep deprived (clocking up less than the recommended seven to nine hours a night), placing their health at serious risk. On the up-side, the sleep health inquiry concluded behavioural changes – importantly including dedicating time and space to the daily practice of sleep health routines – ‘can be an effective first step in resolving sleep issues’.
Formed in 2015, four years ahead of Australia’s sleep health inquiry, The Goodnight Co. shares the inquiry’s informed position that sleep is a fundamental human need, deserving of the same attention as nutrition and fitness. What’s more, on the back of five years’ research and deep-dive surveys involving hundreds of Australians, we know sleep health routines hold the key to your best life possible.
That is, the best version of yourself… who you were born to be.
Your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep and enjoy quality sleep is a direct result of what you do out of bed (snuggling aside), generally from when the sun rises to not long after it sets.
Welcome to your circadian rhythm or internal body clock (itself the focus of the 2017 Nobel prize), which hardwires the survival of every organism on Earth – from humans to plankton – to a 24-hour solar circuit or sleep/wake cycle. Want to dive deeper? Read 'Circadian Rhythm: Explained’.
Put simply, we evolved in concert with a daily light/dark cycle that influences brain-wave activity patterns, cell repair, blood pressure, mood, metabolism and hormone levels – including secretion of the sleep hormone, melatonin. A hormone produced by our brain that follows the rising and setting of the sun: switching on at night (around 9pm) and switching off by morning (around 7.30am).
Plankton, believe it or not, have the upper hand when it comes to living in sync with their circadian rhythm. According to a European study, these tiny critters naturally respond to the ebb and flow of melatonin, produced at night, to ensure their survival.
Humans are no different from plankton. The key difference being our lives are filled with a multitude of modern-day distractions and artificial light (covering everything from screen time to street lights), not to mention nocturnal temptations (from late night snacking to caffeine and alcohol too close to bed time). Read more about the sleep and light relationship and link between nutrition and sleep.
In short, our sleep is disrupted because our circadian rhythms are struggling to cope with the unnatural sequence of modern-day life, which is precisely why sleep health routines are important.
Now for the good news, it only takes a few simple adjustments to your daily routine to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Better still, following a sleep health routine is far from a chore when supportive tools cover luxurious silk products, pure essential oils, feel-good remedies, relaxing baths and more.
For the ultimate 10 step / 10 day guide to building your own personalised sleep health routine, click here. It even includes recipes that naturally hero tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin – the chemical that boosts your mood and helps you increase and regulate melatonin.
Remember: your body clock is sensitive to light and darkness, so getting a dose of sunlight first thing in the morning will help you wake up refreshed and keep your life on track. Find out how you can supersize your sleep health ‘morning routine’.
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