By Alice Boyd
For many women, getting a good night sleep, can be more elusive than finding the perfect man.
Alarmingly, a lack of adequate shut-eye on a regular basis has been linked to chronic health problems – diabetes and heart disease. Bondi Beauty spoke with leading sleep researcher Dr Carmel Harrington who says, “We’ve now lost the discipline around sleep and we have to bring it back into our lives.”
Sleeping for eight hours every night, seems like a fantasy to many Australians. Over the last twenty years, our daily snooze time has decreased by twenty percent, “women need more sleep than men, but they will struggle to get it.” says Dr Harrington.
“You should never exercise within 3 hours of going to sleep. Exercise is a great way to wake you up. Do it in the morning or at 4pm in the afternoon.
Don’t exercise at 8pm, because you will produce cortisol which is a really great hormone to keep you awake, but it’s not great for sleep.”
2) Eat your largest meals before 6pm.
“We should eat a breakfast like an emperor, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper. It’s not about reducing calories, just rearrange the intake.
A large meal gives you a huge energy load. Then the processes of digestion, makes you uncomfortable.”
Walking around after a meal and doing incremental exercise will help.
3) Plan your sex life.
“Work out how much sleep you need as an individual and what time you need to get up in the morning. If you have to be up at 6 am you must be asleep by 10pm. Plan your sex life around this, rather than falling asleep an hour later.”
4) Don’t sleep with your phone.
“Keep your phone out of your bedroom and watch out for alarms with a lead light. 1 hour before you go to bed, set an alarm clock. Turn off all technology at 9pm if you need to go to sleep at 10pm.”
5) Make sure your room is dimly lit.
6) Do a relaxation exercise.
“If you have kids, who don’t want to go to bed, try doing some stretching or deep breathing exercises with them. Children like to copy the habits of their role models.”
7) Have a warm to hot shower.
“The body likes to go to sleep on a falling temperature, having a hot shower, enhances this.”
8) Snack on a sleep friendly foods.
“Bananas and milk have the basic ingredients to help your brain create serotonin and melatonin, essentially hormones for sleep.”
9) Eat a diet rich of magnesium and calcium.
This includes lots of green, leafy vegetables. “Sufficient vitamins and minerals are essential for sleep and supplements might be necessary. Consult your doctor for these and also have your ferritin levels checked.”
10) Your bedroom should be a place to relax.
“If you are a shift worker, or a heavy snorer, have an adult conversation with your partner about sleeping arrangements. Your intimate life will be better when you’re both well rested.”
Carmel Harrington has partnered with bed company AH Beard to help you find ways to get your best night’s sleep. Sign to their free 6-week sleep challenge for weekly tips, tricks and inspiration to get the rest you deserve.
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