In a world of hectic schedules where we’re juggling work, parenting, family, friends, exercise, travel, pets, technology, groceries and household chores, it’s no wonder that our mental load sometimes feels like more than we can handle. To top this off, 38% of us feel that our sleep rates as either ‘poor' or 'very poor.'*
Subsequently, it comes as no surprise that 34% of us feel we lack energy all the time.* Without sufficient rest, our bodies won’t produce the energy we need to function at our peak. So, just what is the secret to switching off the mind and achieving quality sleep? We spoke to our resident Naturopath and supplement expert Bob Wootton and he shared his top five simple tips for a better night’s rest.
So here we go, straight from the experts...
1. Ditch the phone
Seriously, if you sleep with your phone, STOP IT NOW. If you absolutely must use your phone as your morning alarm, have it on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode and perhaps even have a look at the new App called ‘Sleepcycle Alarm Clock’ which provides an interesting opportunity to analyse your personal sleep pattern.
Aside from this, try not to use your phone (including for social media) for at least an hour before going to bed. For that matter, The Sleep Health Foundation Australia advises us to drop all technology with bright screens pre-bed time because they act as stimulants which causes our natural evening rise in melatonin (a hormone which makes us tired) to be interfered with making us more alert.
34% of us feel we lack energy all the time.*
2. Dust the books off
If you’ve committed to ditching the phone before bed time, try trading the technology for a book immediately before bed to calm the mind. I know you’ve heard it all before, but thanks to new research from the University of Sussex, we now know that reading actually reduces stress levels by roughly 68 percent.
Further, Cognitive Neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis suggested that it only took 6 minutes of reading for stress levels to reduce. Need some reading inspiration? Check out our 2018 suggested reads here.
3. Consider including a health supplement
Naturopath, Bob Wootton advises that whilst establishing good habits is the long-term key to getting a good night’s sleep, sometimes it can be very worthwhile to also seek the support of a good health supplement. ‘Valerian root’ for example has long been used in traditional herbal medicine as a calmative and sleep aid. It can help relieve restlessness and mild sleep disorders. With this herb’s strong (smelly socks) odour, Valerian might not be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ but, fortunately there are great alternatives like the concentrated extract form in the VÖOST Sleep Formula compressed tablets. Ideally taken once a day, it’s certainly another option worth trying for restless sleepers.
4. Drink warm tea
Dr David Lewis from the University of Sussex also found that drinking before bed time could reduce stress levels by 54%. Keep away from caffeine and stick with herbal teas. We love Sleep Tight Loose Leaf Tea from T2 and Pukka Night Time tea. Alternatively, you can stick to the old favourite - Chamomile. It is one of the oldest, most widely used and well documented medicinal plants in the world and has been recommended for a variety of healing applications including aiding sleep, relieving muscle cramps and aiding digestion.
For those who find they are up frequently during night to use the bathroom, it might be best to have that last cup of tea at least an hour before bed so there is time to go before you hit the sack, as most herbal teas will have a diuretic effect.
Ah yes, exercise. You knew this would make the list! And it does, for good reason. According to research done by the Sleep Foundation, 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week can improve the quality of your sleep by roughly 65%. However, it’s important not to leave the exercise too close to bed time; try to finish up at least 2 hours beforehand. Also, it’s important to break this down into a routine that works for you – if you aren’t used to regular exercise, start with short periods and gradually build up the time. Don’t underestimate the benefits of brisk walking. Use your lunch break to get moving, opt for the carpak that’s a bit further away and always take the stairs instead of the elevator – it all counts! Furthermore, the Sleep Foundation research concluded that 150 minues of physical activity each week actually reduced feelings of fatigue during the day. We don’t need any further convincing…
* Data from our VOOST Consumer Research Report 2017