A good nights sleep is hugely important for our physical and mental well being. It has so many benefits, far too many to list on here. Lots of us don’t get enough sleep. Since I have started working for myself I can certainly say I now get less sleep. I am often working until late at night and have developed some pretty terrible habits that then stop me from sleeping once I finally make it to bed!
As a nurse I have done plenty of night shifts and know how it feels to be sleep deprived and how difficult it is to function at 100% on limited sleep. With just a little bit of sleep deprivation I can turn into a horrible snappy cow! Through sleep my body heals and I process things that have happened throughout the day. After a good nights sleep I can wake up ready to take on the world. The recommended amount of sleep is 8 hours (www.helpguide.org )So I know all this stuff and I would absolutely love to sleep for 8-hours a night. However, with running my own business, training for an Ironman event and trying my best to be a good mum, the 8 hours does not always happen.
The reason 8 hours sleep does not happen is that I have developed a heavy addiction to caffeine (this is for the next blog). I use my phone too much and end up looking things up on social media at the time I should be getting to sleep. Sometimes I watch absolutely awful TV such as Ex on the Beach or Love Island which is really easy watching but actually is a pretty terrible use of time when I could be sleeping! I also sometimes end up staying late working. All of these mostly self inflicted barriers prevent me from getting to bed at a reasonable hour. Once I am there I often lay awake not being able to sleep as my brain is too busy.
Does any of this sound familiar? I am sure I am not alone. However, I am keen to make changes to my behaviour in the quest for better sleep. For the next 14 days I am going to take on this sleeping challenge. I would love it if you would join me.
1: Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time in the morning. Try setting an alarm for bedtime.
2: No caffeinated drinks after 1pm (I am so going to struggle with this). Also be aware that things like paracetamol and chocolate have caffeine in but one step at a time!
3: Bedroom is for sleeping and sex only (Andrew will be pleased about this one!).
4: Make the bedroom as dark as possible and consider an eye mask. A good eye mask I use is dark and heavy from a company called Unimy which you can get on Amazon.
5. No gadgets in the bedroom.
6. At FitAgain we absolutely promote exercise but actually don’t exercise too close to bed time.
7. Reduce alcohol consumption near near bed time (sorry about that one!)
8. Have a good bed time routine such as a bath at bed time, mindfulness practice. Check out headspace for some meditations to help with sleep.
9: If you cannot sleep and have been lying there for a while get up and do something relaxing. As a mental health nurse in the Royal Navy I always suggested that Navy guys should bull their shoes to send them off to sleep!
10: I am going to set the alarm on my phone outside my bedroom. I have to then physically get out of bed when I get up and it gets the gadgets out of the bedroom.
Good luck with this. Here’s to waking up feeling refreshed and having more energy for our exercise classes and Personal Training in Charmouth and Axminster.