Sweet dreams! Five tips from AAMI to help you get a good night's sleep
Everyone loves a bit of shut-eye. There's nothing better than waking up feeling refreshed after a decent sleep. Yet some nights, finding that delightful place of slumber isn't always easy. And although there's a lot of talk about how many hours we need to feel well rested, Dr Moira Junge from the Sleep Health Foundation says quality is more important than quantity. For whatever reason your sleep might be interrupted, here are five tips from AAMI that you can try for a better snooze.
Start a relaxing routine
Life is busy so creating a routine that signifies sleep is near and that helps you relax before bed is a smart idea. Try allocating 10 minutes each night to your favourite relaxing activity before hitting the hay. It could be as simple as listening to calming music, having a warm cup of tea or spending a few minutes meditating.
Even though you don't tend to notice it, digesting your food keeps your body busy! "To give yourself the best chance of a restful night's sleep, eat at least one-and-a-half to two hours before going to bed," says Accredited Practising Dietitian Skye Swaney. "This is so you're not busily digesting your meal while you're trying to sleep." What you eat may make a difference, too. Most experts agree that eating small, lighter meals at night is a good idea as they aren't as hard for your body to digest.
Keep a diary
Ever noticed that as soon as your head touches the pillow, your to-do list runs endlessly through your mind? Try keeping a diary by your bed so you can spend a few minutes before you doze off writing down anything on your mind (this can even be part of your relaxation routine). Plus, if you wake up in the night you can quickly jot whatever crosses your mind so you can remember it the next day.
Fit in exercise
Exercise goes beyond improving just your physical health; it's proven to help sleep, too! A study of more than 2600 men and women in the US found those who worked out for 150 minutes a week had an improvement in sleep quality. Squeezing in a brisk 30-minute walk each day might be just what you need to sleep soundly.
Put yourself to bed
Finally, it's key to remember that a good night's sleep is one of the most important ingredients for a healthy life! Just as we make time for exercise and preparing healthy meals, making time for sleep is also vital. It may sound silly, but putting yourself to bed at a reasonable hour is as essential for adults as it is for children. So set a bedtime and try to stick to it as often as possible.
Want to learn more about how to sleep well? Visit www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au for more helpful hints.