Not getting enough sleep? Even when you don’t look tired, you’re likely still suffering the effects of burning the candle at both ends. Technology and work pressures have taken a toll on our sleep patterns – which have changed vastly since our grandparents’ generation. Here’s why we all need more sleep – and how you can get it:
BBC documentary Day Of The Body Clock taught us a thing or two about sleep when it aired last week. Professor Russell Foster – a neuroscientist at Oxford University – explained how people are getting less sleep than 60 years ago and described society’s current treatment and regard of sleep as “arrogant”. He added, “We feel we can abandon four billion years of evolution and ignore the fact that we have evolved under a light-dark cycle… What we do as a species, perhaps uniquely, is override the clock. And long-term acting against the clock can lead to serious health problems.” Eek!
Prof. Foster thinks that modern technology is often to blame. “Light exposure, especially short wavelength blue-ish light in the evening, will reset our circadian rhythms to a later hour, postponing the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin and making it more difficult for us to get up in the morning.” So, basically we need to get away from TVs, iPads and – yes – smartphones.
So, how can you make a difference to bad sleep habits right now? Here are our top 4 tips to get you back on track:
- ROUTINE: It’s not rocket science, but going to bed at the same time every night can help you to get up on time in the morning. A before-bed routine will help you stick to this – perhaps try a long hot bath with some Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Muscle Bath Oil or Laura Mercier’s Fresh Fig Bath Honey or find a quiet corner and get lost in a book.
- NO CAFFEINE: You know that drinking tea or coffee late in the day or before you go to bed will keep you awake. So opt for warm milk or an infusion like TeaPigs Peppermint Tea.
- SET THE (SLEEP) MOOD: Some people ban TVs and screens from their bedrooms, but we won’t force you to go quite that far. When 9pm hits start preparing your body for sleep by switching off the telly – catch up tomorrow! – and lighting a candle. Candlelight triggers the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone – we recommend Green & Spring Relaxing Home Candle.
- RELAX: Going to bed and getting a good night’s sleep will make you so much more productive the next day, so make sure you find time to relax away from a screen. Try meditating or listening to music whilst shutting out the world with our soothing eye mask.