#WOW2020 Sleep Tips, as recommended by an expert
No caffeine after 6PM, which includes energy drinks, tea, coffee and chocolate.
Everyone knows that caffeine not only keeps us awake for longer but can also influence our quality of sleep. It’s a stimulant! However, something not known by everyone is that there is caffeine in chocolate! So we’re not saying you should give up chocolate. Everyone deserves a treat. We just recommend that you shouldn’t eat it after 6PM. The quickest way to make children hate you is to tell them they shouldn’t drink hot chocolate before bed!
An hour of low engagement relaxation before bed.
Our bodies need to prepare for sleep. Therefore, we need to place them in relaxed environments. This might come in the form of listening to music, meditating, watching easy television etc. It does not mean working in your bed, fighting with your spouse or being devastated when your favourite character gets killed off in Game of Thrones.
A cooler body temperature going to bed.
Something I was not aware of is how body temperature plays a role in sleep. Our bodies should have a cooler body temperature when preparing for sleep. An overly warm room = bad sleep. This also explains why hot showers/baths before bed can be helpful. Your body temperature will rise, which means it will fall more rapidly. Hot water bottles are good for that low engagement relaxation but we should get rid of them before going to sleep.
Only sleeping in your bedroom so your mind can associate your bedroom with sleep.
If we do everything in our bedrooms, then our minds will think of everything in our beds. We should try and only associate our bedrooms with sleep so the mind knows what is happening when we hit the pillow. Particularly avoid working or studying in your bedroom. The bedroom should be a place of rest, not stress.
No technology in your bedroom.
We all know this and still, we choose to do it. It is common knowledge that blue light activates photoreceptors in our brain, which keeps our brains awake for longer so blue light filters are advised. However, blue light filters can’t protect you against our brains fully waking when we roll over and check the time or against the fury you experience when you see your ex is now going out with your best friend. This is simply a habit you need to consciously practice. Will power doesn’t work so leave technology out of your room. Out of sight, out of mind.
The importance of routine (going to bed and getting up at the same time everyday).
Everyone is obsessed with getting their 8 hours, but sleep should not be measured in quantity but instead; quality. A much better indicator of sleep is routine, which means getting up at the same time and falling asleep at the same time, which makes the circadian rhythm or clock in your body happy. The quickest way to make everyone hate you is to tell them they shouldn’t lie in on the weekend!
The use of CBT to help you sleep better.
Finally, would you believe that CBT, the thing that helps you regulate your mental health, is also the best treatment for insomnia? Be more aware of how you think, challenge unhelpful thoughts and you’ll sleep better.
So there you have it. 7 simple tips that you can integrate into your WOW challenge. For more information on how to sleep better, visit the Insomnia Clinic at http://www.insomniaclinic.ie