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Do you ever find yourself dosing off in the afternoon as if your mind switches off for a few minutes and you find that you actually have fallen asleep while sitting at your desk for just that short bit of time? Science refers to this as ‘microsleep’. After having my first baby, I could literally sleep anywhere at any time for just a few minutes. Closing your eyes in an elevator for a quick power micro-nap!
Needless to say, the main reason behind the ‘microsleep’ is sleep deprivation. Therefore, the solution is to get quality sleep for at 7 to 9 hours per night.
Sounds easy? Most of us struggle with getting proper sleep. The amount of hours lying in bed does not equal quality sleep.
The secret to sleeping better comes down to these 4 steps:
- Set an alarm clock and stop using your phone to wake you up. This way you can turn off your phone before going to bed. You will be able to relax without feeling anxious about missing a text, checking your social media or waiting for a call. In fact, skip screens all together before getting ready for bed. The blue light that is emitted by screens such as laptops, tablets and phones disrupt the body’s internal body clock. Exposure to blue light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythm, your natural sleep and wake cycle.
- Develop a night-time routine such as having a cup of chamomile tea, putting a few drops of lavender. essential oil on the pillowcase, reading a book or journaling. Writing in a journal is especially effective to get rid of the worries and thoughts which keep you up at night. Start with journaling 3 things that went well today, 3 things that did not (and what you would do differently next time) and most importantly 3 things you feel grateful for.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption before bed. Keep in mind that dehydration is associated with worse sleep quality and abnormal sleep heart rates and some people experience Leg cramps due to dehydration which can disturb your sleep. So make sure you stay well-hydrated through the day.
- When you are in bed rather than waiting for sleep to just happen, close your eyes and use this time to practice breathing meditation. A simple way is to breathe into the stomach expanding the stomach with each inhalation and then slowly exhaling through the nose fully. Continue for at least 10 breaths or until you fall asleep and try to make each breath deeper than the one before it.
It takes time to fine-tune your sleeping habits, so try these steps for 2 weeks and let me know your results in the comments below.