For the first in our series of self-care and wellbeing posts we shall be looking at sleep.
We can remind ourselves of the importance of this pillar of health and look at ways to ensure we can access more of it. It is our body’s own way of healing physical, mental and emotional tiredness. Sufficient sleep increases our energy, improves our immune system, increases our life expectancy and reduces stress levels. It’s also free! So whatever we are feeling it is good news for our wellbeing. Once again at a time like this, we probably need to give ourselves the opportunity for more, not less of its transformative powers.
Getting enough sleep can be seen as the most fundamental aspect of wellbeing. We all know how it impacts our mood and ability to function effectively, but are we paying enough attention to this life-giving force?
However, knowing about the benefits of sleep is of no particular help if we struggle with getting to sleep, staying asleep or waking too early. We all know the more we try to sleep the more elusive it can become. The truth is for many of us things get in the way of good sleep and heightened anxiety can be one of those things.
Sleep is not experienced in isolation from the rest of our lifestyle and sometimes we can find some respite by paying attention to the conditions we all need to sleep well. In other words if we create the right habits around our sleep, good sleep can become a side-effect of those habits.
So what can help? Here are a few suggestions…
- A consistent bedtime and waking time regardless of the day of the week
- A really dark and cool bedroom
- A bedtime routine, like a child, to signal the body it’s time to wind down
- Reducing our exposure to blue light/screens at least an hour before bedtime
- Spend time outdoors in the morning
- Limiting caffeine after noon
If you’d like to know more about these, and any other suggestions to boost this superpower, have a look at these resources: