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Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

A good nights sleep can help you to stay slimmer, look younger, improve your memory, mood and immune system!

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Written by Kerry Duncan

We all know getting a good night’s sleep is important but most of us accept feeling tired and sleep deprived as normal.

When you stop to reflect on the benefits of sleep it will have you running for your PJs and bed. Do you get the recommended 7-8 hours’ of sleep a night? I think many of us use the TV or internet as a way to relax. We stare at some sort of screen for most of the night and often go to bed later than we intend. If you suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) like me, it can be hard to stop Googling! There is always something to Google (dam you Google... I love and resent you at the same time).

I have been prioritising sleep lately and try to turn off the TV and computer before 10pm. Initially I feel deprived and annoyed going to bed earlier than normal, but once I’m in bed I often think why didn’t I go to bed earlier? It take time to create a new habit so I will keep working on it.

There are some great books and articles on the benefits of sleep. It's great to be reminded about the benefits on a regular basis so we give it the attendion it deserves. Did you know that during sleep your body heals itself and files away the day’s activities to make it easier to access memories? How impressive is that? Sleep plays a critical role in memory, immune function, learning and metabolism. A good night’s sleep helps to boost our immune system, helps us to stay slimmer, look younger, be healthier, have a better memory and regulate our mood. Excellent!

Below are the best tips I have come across to support sleep. If you have trouble sleeping I recommend trying a couple at a time to see which ones work for you:

  • Develop a bedtime ritual. Most parents create a bedtime ritual for their kids which usually involves quiet time, bath time and reading before sleep. How about adopting the same approach for you.
  • Figure out your wake up time and work back. Aim for at least seven hours sleep per night plus some wind down time.
  • Turn electronic devices off one hour before you plan to sleep (I am still working on this one!)
  • Have a bath, even a foot bath with Epsom salts before bed. The magnesium helps to relax muscles and can help you to sleep.
  • Use essential oils such as Lavender or Roman Chamomile, Bergamot or Ylang Ylang. I often mix some Lavender and Almond 0il and massage it into the bottom of my feet. You can also massage oil into your shoulders or add a drop of oil to a tissue and place it under your pillow. I don’t think the Lavender alone puts you to sleep but it creates a nurturing and restful environment. Experiment with different calming oils to find the right blend for you.
  • Cut our caffeine before bed, some even say early afternoon. Herbal tea such as camomile and lemongrass works for me.
  • Try a meditation before bed or some breathing exercises. If your head is full of thoughts try some deep breathing. Inhale through your nose counting in for four seconds, hold for four seconds and then exhale through your mouth for four seconds. Try this for a few minutes.
  • Write it down. If thoughts keeps running around your head try writing them down. If you write down that ‘to do list’ and other thoughts it can help you to relax. It’s out of your head and on paper.
  • Limit or cut out alcohol. Alcohol can help you to fall asleep but will often wake you during the night.
  • Remove electronic devices from your bedroom. (If this is just too much to bear put your gadgets onto night mode to reduce the blue light your screen emits.) The light from our devices interferes with our body’s melatonin levels. Our bodies need melatonin to sleep.
  • Keep to a consistent wake up time every day.
  • Ensure your room is cool, ventilated and dark.

Make sleep a priority in your life. It can help you to look younger, have a better memory, mood, immune system and stay slimmer! zzzzzzzz :)