Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep and we have to create that much time for sleep each night to feel at our best, even though this can be challenging with our always-on lifestyles. It’s equally important to get enough restful, deep sleep rather than toss, turn and wake up numerous times during the night.
What is deep sleep?
Deep sleep is the stage of sleep where our body completely relaxes, our heart rate and our breathing slow down, and we disengage from our environment. We don’t dream during this sleep stage. Our body needs it to heal, repair itself and restore its energy.
Get more deep sleep with our top 5 tips
1) Wake up and go to bed at regular times
When you create a routine and stick to it every day, your body will automatically know when it is time to sleep. A weekend sleep-in may feel nice at the time, but it confuses your body clock and it will often leave you feeling sluggish.
2) Get natural light during the day
Research shows that office workers with exposure to sunlight feel more energised during the day and get better quality sleep at night. Even if your office has no windows, you can still get natural light every day by going for a walk before work and making sure that you take your lunch break.
3) Dim the lights and turn off your screens at night
Brightly lit environment at night will trick your body into believing that it’s still daytime and you need to stay active. The blue light from our screens contributes to this confusion and disrupt the natural production of the hormone melatonin, which is responsible for regulating your sleep cycle. It is best to dim the lights and switch off our devices 1-2 hours before bedtime so that our body can prepare for sleep. If you must work on your computer or phone, try using a blue light filter app.
4) Stay away from caffeine and alcohol in the second half of the day
Caffeine reaches its peak effect approximately 30-60 minutes after consumption, but it is still present in your body for hours after that. Depending on your individual reaction to caffeine, you can suffer from disturbed sleep 6 hours or more after that late afternoon cup of coffee.
Alcohol, on the other hand, can make you sleepy and it may seem like a sleep aid rather than disturbance. While it’s true that alcohol may help you fall asleep, after a few hours comes the rebound effect and in the second half of the night, you’re likely to experience lighter sleep with frequent awakenings.
5) Have a relaxing bedtime routine
Listen to a relaxing meditation, have a cup of herbal tea or cuddle up with someone you love. Gratitude is also an excellent way to set yourself up for a good night’s sleep. Take time to reflect on everything good in your life or write in your gratitude journal. These activities will help you slow down, let go of worrying thoughts and prepare for sleep.
Our retreats often comment how much better they feel after a couple of days in peaceful settings, away from the city lights, noise and stress. Come to one of our yoga and mindfulness retreats to step away from your daily stress, experience the relaxing effects of yoga nidra (calming guided meditation before sleep) and jumpstart new sleep habits that will help you stay refreshed and energised long after the retreat is over.
Tatiana is a freelance writer and a mum of three living in Sydney. After a 10-years’ break, she has just returned to full-time work. She is still finding time for yoga, meditation and mindfulness, which is making a huge difference to her sanity and her enjoyment of life.