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sleep school: the do’s & don’ts of getting a GREAT NIGHTS SLEEP

Nikki Yazxhi



And speaking from experience, that in itself is super-stressful because you know how crap you {I am} at dealing with stress when you’re sleep deprived. Then the whole sleeplessness/stress cycle begins, blergh!

Well, to stop you getting into that ‘stressed and sleepless’ routine, we have the do’s and don’ts of getting a great night’s sleep, so you can cope with whatever the day has to throw at you…

Let’s begin, here’s how to get a great night’s sleep…

DON’T NANNA-NAP: An afternoon nap is refreshing and rejuvenating — as long as you following napping best practices. Snoozing for 10 to 20 minutes at least three to four hours before bedtime generally won’t interfere with a good night’s sleep.

DO GO FOR A NATURE WALK: In the afternoon, try to treat yourself to a stroll among greenery. Research has linked forest walks with better sleep plus studies show that people who regularly exercise at moderate intensity experienced  relief from insomnia.

DO EAT DINNER SEVERAL HOURS BEFORE BED to give your body time to digest, and avoid spicy or heavy foods if you’re prone to heartburn. If you drink wine or beer, do so three or four hours away from bedtime; while alcohol may speed the onset of sleep, it can disrupt the sleep cycle later.

DON’T MULTI-TASK BEFORE BEDTIME: Avoid watching intense TV shows, paying bills, or engaging in other stimulating activities an hour or two before bedtime. Instead, dim the lights to stimulate the release of melatonin and do a few relaxing yoga poses {such as Legs Up the Wall and Child’s Pose} or 10 minutes of deep breathing or meditation. If you have a bathtub, use it. {Adding relaxing lavender oil will help.}

DO SNACK YOURSELF TO SLEEP: Eating a small carbohydrate snack with a bit of protein {think a scoop of light ice cream with berries} a couple of hours before bed gets the brain to produce the calming neurotransmitter serotonin. To help the snack along, cut off caffeine {chocolate included} four hours before bed.

DO MAKE A BEDTIME ROUTINE: Keeping a regular sleep schedule will train your body and mind to wind down at bedtime. Though it’s tempting to try to use weekends or less busy periods of time to bank sleep, research has shown that you can’t really make up for sleep lost over a period of days in just one or two good nights’ sleep, so remember to make your weekends as regular as weekdays.

DON’T TAKE YOUR iPAD TO BED: Use the bed for bed stuff only. Get your brain to start associating your bed with rest by not using that space for anything other than sleep or other relaxing nighttime activities.

DO MAKE YOURSELF A CUP OF TEA: If a busy brain is keeping you up, sip chamomile tea, which has been shown to have anti-anxiety properties.

DON’T TURN UP THE HEAT: Ditch the heated blanket {and turn down the heating}: Keeping your bedroom cooler actually helps you fall into a deeper and more restful sleep.

DO STAY HYDRATED: Being even mildly dehydrated cuts your mental and physical energy dramatically. Sleep experts recommend drinking plenty throughout the day, and downing a full glass of water in the first few minutes of waking up.

DON’T HIT THE SNOOZE BUTTON: Relying on alarm clocks and snooze buttons wreaks havoc on our body’s natural rhythms. To develop better sleep habits, get a handle on your circadian rhythms and determine when your body naturally wants to fall asleep, wake up, work, and exercise — and then work out a sleep schedule around those rhythms.

DO KEEP ALL ELECTRONIC DEVICES AWAY FROM YOUR BED —including digital alarm clocks, smart phones, and computers. Even the tiniest bit of light can disrupt melatonin levels, making it hard to fall asleep.

Sweet dreams!


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