5 simple steps to a better night's sleep

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This weekend I’ve been blessed to have my 5-month-old baby nephew 'Freddy' stay over!

While we had a wonderful time, having Freddy stay reminded me of a time when my kids were tiny babies, and I would dread the nights due to the lack of sleep.

I remember being cranky, struggling to focus and concentrate, and forget where I’d put things all the time. I’d also often crave unhealthy sugary drinks and snacks just to get me through the next half an hour and often found that situations where I would normally be able to manage, became all too much. I’d find myself overwhelmed and cry at the silliest of things, and often ended up dreading bedtimes with the anticipation of yet another night of torment.

Thankfully, once my boys got older they learned to love sleep as much as I did, and now as typical teenagers, I struggle to get them up!

Even without a small baby causing sleep disruption, it can be common for many people to struggle with sleep for all sorts of reasons. Whatever the cause, lack of sleep can be very upsetting, disruptive and can lead to all kinds of health problems.

These can include anything from being more likely to catch a cold or gain a little extra weight, to increased risk of developing heart disease obesity and type 2 diabetes.

To be at our best in the day, most average adults should get around seven to nine hours of quality sleep every night, but studies show that less than half of us manage this!

With today's technology and fast-paced, 'always connected' culture, we need to be just as intentional about our sleep hygiene as we are with our personal or food hygiene!

Here are 5 of the things that my family are trying, to ensure better sleep hygiene

1) Getting off screens

Turning off altogether, or at least removing, the 'bright blue light' displayed on our devices with screens using apps like Flux or Nightshift at least an hour before bed. Studies show reducing exposure to this blue light at the same time as dusk, stimulates our natural bodies rhythm to sleep at nightfall.

2) Get some exercise.

Being physically active always helps us with a good night sleep, especially if we have had a stressful day or are feeling mentally tired. Physical exertion helps us get a good nights sleep.

3) Keeping screens and iPads out of the bedroom.

We have a charging station set up in the lounge to avoid phones and iPads being taken into the bedroom, thus avoiding the temptation to check them if we wake momentarily in the night. My husband even bought us an old-fashioned alarm clock (with no tick-tocking)!

Alarm clock with no tick tock

4) Avoiding caffeinated drinks.

We cut down on drinks with the stimulant caffeine in the afternoon and evening to ensure no traces are left while we are trying to get to sleep.

5) Keeping the room dark with proper blackout blinds where possible.

Complete blackout is something we are still working on. The window next to our bed has a blackout blind, but we need to order bespoke blinds for the other window, and I haven’t got round to it.

We do however really notice and appreciate the difference a dark room makes every time we go and stay somewhere with real blackout blinds.

Note to self: be more intentional about ordering the blinds!

I’ll start now ... after a quick nap! ;-) …

Til next week, Sleep well!

Niky


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Also, if anyone is attending the Methodist 'Connecting Disciples 2017' Conference this week, then please come and say hello! I will be delivering an Intentional Health based workshop on Tuesday at 11:30 am in the Barclay Hall!

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