We all know that exhausted ‘I’ve gotten out of the wrong side of the bed’ feeling, which leaves you groggy and out of sorts. And no matter how many times science tells us we need to get more sleep, it isn’t easy to make it actually happen! One restless night may not be the end of the world (hello party next door!), but a series can leave you chronically sleep deprived, which then impacts on your overall health.
“When you only get five hours of sleep, it decreases your metabolic burn by about 10 per cent,” explains sleep expert Dr Carmel Harrington. As a result your body can go into sluggish mode and disrupt your hunger hormones. But enough of a downer, you’re here for solutions. Here’s five ways to roll out of bed on the ‘right’ side.
1. Schedule a daylight workout
Research shows you get more restful sleep when you exercise in daylight, especially first thing. Sunshine boosts the sleep hormone melatonin, while resistance training and aerobic workouts help you fall asleep quicker and reduce the need for medical solutions. Prefer to work out at night? “Chances are you’re going to find it hard to get to sleep,” says Harrington. Working out raises your body temperature and peps you up before bed. Her advice: leave a three-hour gap.
2. Skip the espresso martini
Combine alcohol and caffeine (think espresso martini or coffee after a couple of wines) and you’ve got a recipe for sleeplessness, dehydration and dare we say it, snoring. For top quality shut-eye? Stop sipping caffeinated drinks after lunch; replace your night cap with a decaf herbal tea; and chase each alcoholic beverage with mineral water.
3. Roll out your yoga mat
Before your head hits the pillow, ease the stress of your day with a gentle nighttime ritual. Inhaling lavender oil (try five deep breaths) can ease anxiety and insomnia. Meditation and regular yoga practise can help relax you and are linked with improved sleep quality, too. We’ve got the four most relaxing pre-bedtime stretches you can do ready to go here: preventionaus.com.au/bedtime.
4. Tuck in like Goldilocks
To help you drift off, take a lesson from Goldilocks and think: not too hot, not too cold – just right! This applies to your body temperature and your bedroom. A hot shower before bed raises temperatures, which makes it harder to fall asleep, so finish on a cooler note. Next: dim the lights so they’re not too bright, and banish screens that emit blue light (your phone, TV, digital clock), which interrupt sleep. Tip: Try charging your phone in another room (this will help you get up and at ’em the next day!) or just use the old trick of putting your alarm out of arm’s way.
5. Review your pillow
How comfy is your pillow? Two recent studies asked participants to rate five pillows for comfort and sleep quality, including their own. More than half slept better with a new pillow, with latex and foam contour the best performers; feather pillows the worst. Apart from a poor night’s sleep and stiff back the next day, your pillow can also harbour dust mites that aggravate allergies and keep you up at night. Asthma Australia recommends washing your pillow cover and bedding weekly in water more than 55°C if susceptible to hayfever and asthma. Now, is it bedtime yet?