Good Sleep is crucial to your overall health. It is recommended by the sleep council that if you are between 18-64 years old, that you should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. 

With so many of us working from home and adjusting our work stations to a room in the home or a space on the dining table. If you’re lucky enough to have the space you might have an office and some peace and quiet.

If you are a parent, children are at home and that comes with the responsibilities of keeping them entertained and occupied and to wear many more hats, teacher, educator, motivator and counsellor to name a few!  The house is full for the first time for longer periods of time, and we’re needing to shift our patterns of work which for some may be having an impact on our behaviour and mood. Maybe for some of us we are beginning to understand what a work life balance could look like!

Our new routine may have started to have an impact on our sleep, the quality of our sleep, and each day we turn on the news to hear about job losses, redundancies and retail stores closing down. Stress causes a real impact on the mental and emotional body and mind. How you perform in the day and how you manage your stress impacts how well you sleep at night.

If any of these resonates,  here a few suggestions to help you establish a foundation to either enhance your current sleep routine or for you to maybe try a few of the tips mentioned below to start to begin to sleep well.

For some of us sleep issues are driven by our modern lifestyles and there are things we can do ourselves by taking responsibility of our actions. This awareness comes from reflection and self-awareness of ones actions and habits.

  • Two hours before sleeping switch off the tech - are you using technology before going to bed?

Our entire life is at our fingertips. Having access to so much information in an instant and mindlessly scrolling the worldwide web when you could be disconnecting and allowing the mind to detach and the brain, body and heart to recharge. At night melatonin a sleep hormone starts to excrete and release and that’s the body’s natural signal to say it’s time to wind down. Using technology interferes with this hormone and the body and mind resist the natural sleep that is being induced and the blue light that’s emitted from the screen keeps us awake and alert. The outcome is a late night, then difficulty in falling asleep and then as soon as you start to find that sleep it’s morning again! If you identify with this, you may want to reflect on your usage. If it feels daunting at first to be without your phone or device, try shaving off half an hour of time and work in small chunks. Give it a few days and see whether you are noticing a difference in the time you sleep and even the quality of your sleep. Switch of notifications in the evening and don’t be tempted to react to ping, or an alarm.

  • What time do you drink caffeinated drinks until?

 Be aware of the effect of caffeine and how this could impact your sleep. Caffeine stays in your system for generally six to seven hours. Did you know that if you have your last caffeinated drink at noon, a quarter of that caffeine is still in your system at midnight?  Drinking caffeine late in the afternoon contributes to the lack of sleep. You may even sleep okay, but the quality of your deep sleep decreases by 20%, you will feel unrested the following morning and reach for more caffeine. The cycle continues….don’t get me wrong I love a good coffee, but maybe you may want to think about having before noon.

  • Exercise and Diet

What you eat and how you stay active has an impact on your lifestyle and for some our modern lifestyle habits have led us to eat fast foods, grab and go beverages, snack late at night whilst glued onto a device, eating mindlessly and can cause diabetes , high cholesterol and high blood pressure to name a few conditions. This can cause sleep to be disturbed, disrupted, insomnia, indigestion and we don’t tune into the cause of our sleep disruptions because we aren’t conscious sometimes about the impact of our daily habits. If you’re trying to lose weight or just looking to embed a healthier lifestyle, make sure you are exercising regularly and consistently. When the body is active regularly, it naturally gets tired because of the extent of movement from sedentary to active. Look at what you can do consistently and embed movement into your day.

  • Alcohol is a sedative, sedation is not sleep!

 Drinking alcohol fragments your sleep, you won’t remember waking up, and the quality of your sleep will be poor. Alcohol block REM sleep, this is a critical part of the sleep cycle that heals our emotional and physical body as we sleep. Your body is not restored when you’ve had alcohol.

  • Try to keep regular times for going to bed and getting up.

 The human body has its’ own built in body clock, also referred to as the circadium rhythms - this is the relationship with light and dark, our bodies are naturally attuned to it. When we let modern lifestyle get in the way, we suffer and we can change this if we really want to, by being really self- aware of our own human capacity to love ourselves first. When we feel good about ourselves it shows in our emotional, mental and physical body, we can then share this goodness with those around us.

Written by Kam Bola

Wellbeing Life-Coach, Yoga and Meditation teacher. Kam is Birmingham based and has been an educator for 19 years, working with adults supporting mental, emotional and physical health. Kam teaches in a number of yoga studios across the city and you will find her working in grass roots communities empowering women to be the best version of themselves. Kam works at ACP The Family Wellbeing Centre in Birmingham. Follow her on Instagram acp.birmingham and  @kambola.lifecoach.