The top four things to get under control for optimal health are sleep, stress, nutrition and movement. With sleep being number one. Without adequate z’s unfortunately it is very hard to get energy to exercise, motivation to make a healthy lunch and it actually disrupts our other hormonal and metabolic rhythms in our body.
Thanks to the miracle of electricity we have access to blue-light and stimulating Netflix shows all night long. However both these things interfere with our bodies ability to produce enough melatonin; the sleepy hormone. To get into a deep, uninterrupted (key word being uninterrupted) and restorative sleep we need to allow our body and minds to wind down from the day. To start secreting those hormones and neurotransmitters that tell our brains it’s time for bed.
No Game Of Thrones does not count as an evening routine
Your evening routine should start at least 30 minutes before bed, but ideally an hour.
Switch off your mobile phone or put it onto aeroplane mode, yes Instagram can wait. Hopefully you have also stopped eating by this point. Allowing three hours between dinner and bed means the body has finished digesting and can now focus on resting.
This next bit is where you can add in the practices and rituals that you find help you wind down. Ideas include:
- Bath with essential oils
- Meditation that encourages sleep
- Reading a light-hearted book
- Sipping on non caffeinated herbal tea like Forme Relax Herbal Tea Infusion
- An oil massage followed by a warm shower
The aim is to switch the body from the sympathetic nervous state to the parasympathetic nervous state. This is responsible for ‘rest and digest,’ slowing the heart rate, constricts the pupils and prepares you for a restful sleep.
Regularly practicing your evening routine will help form a habit. Your body and mind will start to catch on and notice the rhythm of the routine. Don’t make your evening routine too complicated or difficult for you to do anywhere. Keep it simple like placing a journal next to your bed so when you switch your phone off and get into bed you can jot down your thoughts from the day and then do some deep belly breathing before dozing off for a restorative sleep.
If you hear anyone say sleep is for the dead, they are wrong. Lack of sleep increases the risk of many modern day diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, dementia and depression.
So instead the saying should be sleep is for those who want to live.