When we talk about lifestyle, overall health and well-being we all think “diet and exercise”. But I very much consider sleep too. It’s the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. If we aren’t sleeping well, we don’t have the energy to exercise and tend to eat poorly. Lack of sleep stimulates our hunger hormone ghrelin and suppresses our satiety hormone, leptin. This makes us more likely to overeat as your body isn’t properly recognising that we’re full. I know I find myself grazing a lot more when I haven’t slept well. Being sleep deprived can also impact our mood, making cranky and short-fused. Furthermore, being chronically sleep deprived weakens our immune system and make us more susceptible to picking up coughs, colds and flu.
If you’re not sleeping well and struggling to get 7-8 hours a night, you need to look at your “sleep hygiene”. Sleep hygiene is the term used to describe habits that enable us to get a better nights rest. Here are my top 10 sleep hygiene tips…
Phone and Screen Use
Ideally, our beds are used for sleep only. But if you must look at your laptop or phone in bed coming up to bedtime, switch the screen settings to night mode; the warmer colour on screens during night mode poses less of an insult to our ideal nighttime physiology.
It’s important your sleep environment is peaceful and quiet. Sometimes it’s impossible to control outside influences to your sleep environment but using earplugs can help.
Having a bedtime and wake time that you stick to is proven to help you sleep better. If your favourite show is on after your bedtime, watch it on catch up. Weekends are often disruptive and result in sleep inertia so sticking to your routine as much as possible is best.