As busy mums we can be on the go right until the moment we collapse into bed and then we wonder why we can’t get to sleep! Adi from Time 2 Sleep recently introduced yoga into her busy life, and found that as well as helping her to feel better, it’s helped her to sleep much better too. That led her to think about the link between sleep and lifestyle and what else she could change. These are her tips for making lifestyle changes so you can have a better night’s sleep.
How does lack of sleep affect you? I get irritable and find it hard to concentrate. By 6pm, I’m just about on my knees but by the time I finally get into bed I’m often overtired and then I struggle to get to sleep again.
On average, experts recommend an average of eight hours’ sleep a night. Most mums I know don’t manage anything like this due to family demands and stress.
Remember, quality sleep is as important as quantity and often I find a shorter quality sleep more refreshing than a longer sleep tossing and turning.
These are my top things to consider for a quality night’s sleep.
- Avoid caffeine – I never drink caffeine after 4pm. Instead I substitute it for herbal tea or if I’m feeling indulgent, hot chocolate made with coconut milk. Just note, dark chocolate contains caffeine – usually not enough to disturb your sleep but it does depend how much you consume in the evening!
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine – It really helped me to give myself some TLC before I got into bed. It may not be your primary instinct to delay sleep, but trust me, 30 minutes of wind-down time means that when you do drop off, you are calmer, less anxious and able to relax into deeper sleep.
- Try meditation for relaxation – Meditation is a tried and tested way to assist with a peaceful mind. Meditation itself is a lifestyle though; there is no point doing it once and expecting miracles, it takes regular, dedicated time to reap the rewards.
- Watch the alcohol – A glass of wine might make you feel sleepy but it’s not a good formula for a quality night’s sleep as you’re likely to wake in the night.
- Quit smoking – My friend recently quit smoking and noted how much better her sleep is now. The advice is always to quit smoking for health benefits, but it can also reduce sleep disruption from nicotine stimulation.
- Take gentle exercise – Whilst finding time in your day for exercise may be difficult, any form of regular gentle exercise, such as walking or swimming, is a good way to relieve tension. Just don’t do anything too strenuous close to bedtime.
- Try yoga – If like me, you are looking for something holistic that could help you to find more energy to enrich your family time, yoga is top of my list of recommendations. It doesn’t really matter which yoga you opt for, as they will all release the happy hormones and most importantly it allows you some time to connect with yourself.
Good sleep is crucial for your overall health and wellbeing. What lifestyle changes have you made for better sleep?