Anxiety, stress and a busy schedule aren’t just affecting our days – they’re also impacting our nights. A good night’s sleep is vital for our health and wellbeing, but many of us aren’t able to get as much as we need.
Research shows that the average adult needs between seven and nine hours sleep every night, with some benefiting from short daytime naps. The clever people at NASA have actually worked out that the optimum nap time is 26 minutes, which has been proven to increase alertness by 54% and performance by 34%.
However, sleep therapist Risa Gabrielle says lots of things are getting in the way of our sleeping schedules. From using our phones at night to hitting the snooze button, we don’t always wake up feeling rested.
But prioritising sleep is important for our mental and physical health, so what can you do to catch up?
Here are five handy tips:
- Sleep and anxiety don’t make the best partners. The more anxious you feel, the less you’re likely to sleep which in turn exacerbates your inability to sleep. It’s important not to beat yourself up when you don’t get a good night’s rest.
- Keep a regular sleeping pattern where you wake up at the same time every day. Only 40% of us are morning people so you’ll need to work out a schedule that best suits your individual needs.
- Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bed.
- Try to build a routine before bed. Switch off your phone and laptop and consider meditation, a warm bath and some relaxation time with a good book.
- Instead of hitting the snooze button in the morning, try getting into a restorative yoga pose. Put your feet up against the wall and take some deep breaths to get the circulation flowing.
It’s not just what you do at night that will improve your sleep patterns. Your daytime activities are just as important. Whether it’s outdoor rock climbing or a gentle walk in the park, fresh air and exercise are a great combination for a peaceful night’s rest.