Since the World Health Organisation’s declaration of a global pandemic in March 2020, its ripple effects have touched almost all aspects of human existence – from how we work, to how we eat, to how we interact with others, and most certainly, how we sleep.
In light of this, World Sleep Day, which falls this year on Friday 18 March, is a reminder of sleep’s critical role in our lives. This year’s theme is Quality Sleep, Sound Mind, Happy World, and we couldn’t agree more on the connection between good sleep and happiness.
Whether you’ve had trouble sleeping before the pandemic or are learning to sleep better in these uncharted times, here are a few tips that can help you get better shut-eye:
1. Design your sleep routine
It’s natural to think that a good night’s rest starts when your head hits the pillow but in reality, quality sleep starts in the lead-up to bedtime. “Simply put, good sleep habits can cause good sleep quality,” explains Dr. Liborio Parrino, Associate Professor of Neurology at Parma University, Italy.
Establishing a calming pre-sleep routine, with practices like yoga, meditation or reading, and habits like not eating or drinking too close to your bedtime, can help your body to recognise the end of the day, marking that it’s time to sleep.
At the same time, don’t stress out too much over your sleep routine – it’s important to identify what factors can disrupt your sleep or interfere with preparing your mind and body to rest.
2. Create an optimal sleep environment
Investigate what you need to cultivate a beneficial sleep environment. “It’s possible to eliminate many minor sleep problems by creating a comfortable sleep environment,” says Dr. Lawrence J. Epstein of the Sleep Medicine Division at Harvard Medical School.
He cites taking steps such as regulating the temperature, dimming the lights close to bedtime and making sure the room is dark when you sleep, finding a comfortable bed and mattress, blocking distracting noise, keeping tech and gadgets away from the bed, and avoiding using your bed for non-sleep or intimacy-related activities.
3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
It’s widely acknowledged that a healthy lifestyle has invariable benefits on general wellness, so it makes sense that staying healthy is also linked to good sleep. Physically keeping an adequate balance of nutrition, exercise, and moderated alcohol ingestion and tobacco use will serve you well in the long run.
When it comes to mental health, working through stress or anxiety with a counsellor or therapist can also be keys to long term good sleep.
4. Practice mindful tech consumption
With the portability of smart devices, it’s all too easy to answer emails from the bed and scroll social media endlessly. According to the Sleep Foundation, using electronic devices for long periods of the day can negatively impact sleep duration and deficiency, not to mention the inclination to doomscroll.
For better sleep health and mental health, you may want to keep work-related activities and charging devices away from your bed or bedroom. You can also set nighttime mode to activate in the evening so that displays are easier on the eyes before bedtime.
5. Make sleep fun, luxurious and exciting
Whether that means spritzing your bed with a mood-boosting room spray, fluffing your pillows, lighting a candle, or slipping into a silky robe and under an eye mask, integrating little ways to make sleep something to look forward to can create a positive anticipation of sleep time.
8Shades recommends: The SOL eye mask
This ultra-soft, double-layered sleeping mask from SOL is made from 100% sustainable Lenzing Ecovero viscose fibres to help you drift off to la-la-land in silky soft luxury.
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