Aside from the most common sleep disorders, there are many different sleep related reasons why you may be feeling fatigued. Here is a quick checklist with some actionable tips to help you change some of your habits and develop a good sleep hygiene.
Do you nap during the day? If you want to wake up feeling refreshed from a nap you need to avoid falling into slow wave sleep. This means you shouldn’t nap for more than 15-20 minutes to achieve maximum alertness and energy when you wake up. A short nap will give you an energy burst of around 3 hours.
2. Weekend Lie-ins
Love a lie- in? Our circadian timer (the sleep clock in the brain) runs on a rhythm which functions optimally when it works to a regular routine. Unfortunately, we have some bad news for you weekend lie-in folks – this routine should be 7 days a week! Respect your bed time and get up at the same time on the weekend. The good news is that although you will miss out on your weekend lie-ins, you won’t need them as much AND you will actually feel much better overall. Okay, at most, try and keep your extra lie in time to thirty minutes.
3. Watching TV and Social Media in Bed
Do you check emails and Facebook or fall asleep watching Netflix constantly? In the hour before bed, you should have a relaxing sleep routine. With today’s ‘always on’ super busy lifestyles we tend to be stimulated right up until the moment we turn the lights off to sleep. Our brains and bodies need time to unwind and prepare for bed time. In order to get the most restorative sleep, you should avoid stimulating activities such as exercise, using electronic devices and generally blue light an hour before bed. Electronic devices emit light of a blue wavelength, which tricks our brains into thinking that it is daytime. This disrupts the brain’s natural sleep-wake cycles, which are crucial for optimal function of the body.
4. Caffeine After Tea Time
Enjoy an afternoon coffee? Avoid caffeine at least 4 hours before bed. This includes coffee, tea and even chocolate! It takes up to 6 hours for half the caffeine consumed to be eliminated. We advise that no caffeine should be consumed in the 4 hours before bed time.
5. A Couple of Glasses of Wine With Dinner
A couple of glasses won’t do any harm, right? Drinking alcohol helps you fall asleep, however, it also fragments sleep and leads to more arousal overnight. This means there is a good chance you will wake up in the middle of the night after a few drinks. This will in turn cause you to be more exhausted the next day.
6. Eating Dinner Too Close To Bed Time
Working late, cooking dinner, before you know it it’s 8pm! Eating suppresses melatonin production, the hormone necessary for getting us ready to sleep. We recommend eating 3-4 hours before bed time in order to sleep well.
7. The 20 Minute Rule
Something on your mind or just can’t nod off? If you are not asleep within 20 minutes, get up! Make a cup of camomile tea, read for a while or listen to some relaxing music. Just don’t put the TV on! Staying awake in bed and fretting about not sleeping is not conducive to falling asleep. It is much more effective to get up, reset and try again. On top of this, being strict with your time in bed and sleeping helps your body and mind link your bed with sleep.
8. Worry Time
Find yourself thinking of all the things you haven’t done? Set aside ‘worry time’ in the evening and make plans and solutions, then go to bed with a clear mind.