‘World Sleep Day is an annual event, intended to be a celebration of sleep and a call to action on important issues related to sleep, including medicine, education, social aspects and driving.’ – World Sleep Day Website
As a sufferer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, (CFS and otherwise know as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis; ME for short) for over 10 years now I have grown to value the importance that sleep can play in our everyday lives.
Even though with CFS a ‘good night’s sleep’ never really happens in my world, I have learnt the value of sleep, and the role it plays within my life. As well as other peoples’ close to me.
Over the past year the value of better sleep and Sleep Awareness has been talked about more and more.
Showing the health (mental and physical) benefits it can play throughout our lives. Researchers say;
- You should have around 7-8 hours a night.
- Anything less than 5 hours on a regular basis is bad for you. It’s linked to the risk factor of Alzheimer’s.
- And that ‘catching up on the weekend’ isn’t actually a thing. It doesn’t work at all.
I personally need 8-9 hours (ideally), and I know anything more or less does not do well for my CFS energy levels.
I have realised by not getting the sleep I need, over-time I can’t function well; my cognitive processes are delayed, I have memory loss and my mental health suffers as well. I feel low, run down and generally negative. Which is saying something, because I’m a ‘glass full’ kind of gal.
Over the time I’ve been writing my blogs (for 4 and half years now), I’ve previously had some wonderful guest bloggers who have informed us how to sleep better. Also I have written interior based blogs to help you create a relaxing bedroom to get sleep ready.
Here, I want to re-cap on these great facts to help us all get a good night’s sleep tonight, and beyond.
Firstly, here are 5 quick steps you can to tonight to help you start getting a good night’s sleep from my Guest Blogger Sarah and her Guest Blog ‘How you can properly relax without getting tired.’;
- Keeping lights low and noise to a minimum
- Have your room temperature at a comfortable level
- If you wake up or need to use the bathroom, go right back to bed.
- Try to avoid looking at your phone or other devices, and don’t turn on any more lights than needed.
- Don’t eat, because this will keep you awake longer and may upset your stomach.
One of the most important things for me I find is keeping to a routine.
If you go to bed around the same time each night, which is a routine within itself, and keep to a ‘bedtime’ routine without the interference of technology, this will help tremendously.
For example, I make sure I put my phone away, so I’m not distracted by it. Or if it’s by my bed I put it into sleep mode, or even turn it off.
I will then get everything ready for my morning routine the next day, tidy away my clothes from today, brush my teeth, do my daily cleansing routine, and then get into bed.
If I feel restless, I still avoid reaching for my phone. Instead will pick up a (fiction) book and read a few pages for my mind to calm down, switch off and get ready to sleep.
We also don’t have a TV in our bedroom, which has meant we can’t get distracted with any of the blue light that it emits. Blue light does confuse your brain and the National Sleep Foundation explains why;
‘The reason that blue light is so problematic is that it has a short wavelength that affects levels of melatonin more than any other wavelength does… Normally, the pineal gland in the brain begins to release melatonin a couple of hours before bedtime, and melatonin reaches its peak in the middle of the night. When people read on a blue light-emitting device (like a tablet, rather than from a printed book) in the evening, it takes them longer to fall asleep; plus, they tend to have less REM sleep (when dreams occur) and wake up feeling sleepier— even after eight hours of shuteye.’ – National Sleep Foundation Website
I am very lucky to some extent that I am able to fall asleep fairly quickly, depending on how my day and week has been going.
However, regardless of this I keep to my bedtime routine every single night and I know by doing this I am subconsciously letting my mind and body know it’s time to switch off and wind down.
With the clocks springing forward on Sunday 31st March this year, this can be another attribute to disturbing our sleep. Another Guest Blogger friend of mine Rachel, has given some helpful tips to make sure we avoid disrupting our sleep as much as possible with her Guest Blog ‘Wake up and spring forward with Zest.
Here are three top tips from Rachel on tow to overcome the Spring Forward Jet Lag;
1. You should try going to bed 10 minutes earlier each night in the week running up to the clock change. This is so your internal body clock can slowly adjust to the one-hour change.
2. Or one to two nights before the clocks go forward go to bed an hour earlier. This will be your new bedtime.
3. As the evenings start to get lighter make sure you keep your bedroom dark, because it will be more difficult to get to sleep in a lighter room.
We effectively loose an hour in the morning that our clocks go forward. I like to make sure that I have an early night, by having a relaxing evening and treating it as if it’s a working weekday. Going to bed at a decent time (not overdoing on the alcohol intake either) means you can wake up naturally in the morning, feeling awake, energised and (hopefully) not noticing that we have ‘missed an hour’ of sleep.
This really helps me as well, because I do find it can be the mindset of not getting as much sleep as I need, or that I’m losing an hour can also effect how I feel after sleep.
With new routines and mindset helping us sleep better, one other factor that can also really help us get to sleep, is our bedroom décor.
It may seem like it’s not as important that your routine and your mindset, but personally I think it is. Colour Psychology in particular plays a huge part in our home (and work lives) to how colour can affect our mind and behaviour.
I’ve written a blog about ‘How To Create A Relaxing Bedroom’, and brought up the subject of colour as one of the key factors.
‘Did you know selecting a colour for your bedroom, isn’t just about going for the tone you love? Colour has psychological attributes, meaning the colour you select, can affect the way you sleep.
If you have trouble sleeping it’s worth selecting a colour palette that is calming; such as pastel and light colours.
However, if you need a little help waking up in the morning, try using more bright tones, but in subtle areas of the room, so you don’t distract your relaxation at night.
According to scientific results, the colour blue especially has a calming effect on us, to help us relax and send to sleep. This is due to the colour blue affecting our conscious control (our automatic nervous system). It can lower our heart rate and blood pressure, and slow our breathing down.’
I’ve recently decorated our bedroom in a Navy Blue and Blush Pink, which you can read about here.
The two colours have been chosen to create a calming environment and serentity. Whilst involving pink helps with soothing and comfort…as well as being romantic. And honestly I really do sleep better since we redecorated.
Amazingly there are colours we are advised not for our bedroom decorating.
Including vibrant colours such as particular shades of red, orange, yellow and green. These can make you feel energetic and upbeat, rather than make you want to unwind and go to sleep, and sleep better.
If you love these types of colours, you’re better off using softer and muted tones to help your mind unwind and relax for the evening.
Some neutral colours should also be avoided when it comes to using them predominantly within our bedroom decorating.
Firstly dark, cold grey tones like Steel Grey need to be avoided, because they can make your room feel hostile and inhospitable. You need to be using warm lighter greys on your walls and in your interior styling to create a soothing and serene interior space.
White can often be misjudged as well, when used throughout the whole of your decorating. White is used to create a light and airy room, however this can also make your room feel cold and sterile.
Personally, decorating with white is all about balance. It’s best to combine
your white bedroom with pastel, light or muted tones of colour that are know to
help you improve your sleep.
Blue in particular is one of the best (if not the best) colour to use in your bedroom due to it’s calm and relaxing tendencies, which I mentioned above earlier to help you sleep better.
Hopefully these helpful tips inspire you to start with a new routine to help you sleep better. Or maybe triggered some ideas to why you have problems sleeping.
Of course these tips won’t cure your issues with sleep (especially if you have underlining factors), but they will help. It’s all about balance; keeping a healthy and happy mind, body, and home.
I look forward to hearing what tips you’ve found useful, and how they have helped you sleep better.
Goodnight and sleep well!