8 May 2017

Sleeping better: 5 top tips from a sleep coach to the Olympians

I recently got a bunch of great tips on how to get a better night of sleep and wanted to share them with you too. Sleep isn't always easy for me. I've heard lots of tips and I still have trouble falling asleep and having a proper restful night, but it is getting better.

When I was invited by Clipper Teas to a pyjama party of bedtime stories and sleep talk at the 40 Winks Hotel, I was understandably quite keen. Alongside sipping herbal tea we also got to hear tips from a sleep coach to Olympians on how to improve our sleep cycles and I learned loads of new tips I want to share with you. As always, I also took lots of pictures from the event so you can see what the infamous Bedtime Story Nights at 40 Winks looks like...



girls standing in 40 winks hallway

pillows on the floor for bedtime stories

rolltop bathtub at 40 winks hotel

canapes at 40 winks hotel

canapes on a table



So, sleep. Sometimes I just can't sleep. I get anxious, and I toss and turn for what seems like an eternity. Hearing my other half breathing deeply and calmly next to me serves to make me annoyed on top of feeling anxious, and I'm stewing there thinking "Why is he sleeping! How is it possible for someone to fall asleep so quick?". 

Well, apparently it is quite common for women not to be able to sleep well. 

At the event the sleep coach told us that it is quite common for women to get stuck in this anxious cycle, worrying and planning for the next day. I have also had chats over sleep with the ladies from my office and SO MANY confessed how they just can't sleep properly, and just worry constantly over work and life in general. And speaking from experience, when you have babies, this just gets worse and worse... The tiniest little squeak in the night and you are right up, ready to save your baby. 

We got chatting about how people are really just animals and there are so many physiological things that determine how well we sleep. We, and men especially, sleep better on their non-dominant sides. If you are right-handed, you sleep better on your left side because that leaves your stronger arm open to fend against any attacks. And as humans really are just big hairless apes, we aren't really meant to cuddle or even sleep in same beds, and we usually sleep better with as much possible distance from others. Many of the tips we got followed from similar physiological issues.


steiff teddy bears on a window sill

a single bedroom at 40 winks hotel

dressing up table at 40 winks hotel

beige coloured bed at 40 winks hotel

woman taking a selfie through a mirror


So how can you get a better night of sleep?

1. You should start preparing for bed 90 minutes before you actually go to sleep. We sleep in 90 minute cycles, so it makes sense to prepare in a similar cycle. In this pre-sleep cycle do anything that helps you move from the hyper wake to a sleep mind-set. Take the time out, relax, move away from work and worries and wind down. De-cluttered settings can also raise your chance of getting deep sleep by 50-60%. This is something I have found particularly important and I decorated our bedroom with sleep in mind

2. Move from warm to cool - this recreates the natural cooling down of the day when the sun sets. A bedroom ideal temperature is around 18 Celsius. You can also mimic this cooling down by warming your body temperature by having a warm shower or a bath, or drinking a hot cup of herbal or de-caffeinated tea. 

3. Mimicking the setting sun, you should not be checking your mobile phone (which emit blue daytime type of light) during this 90 minute period. Moving from light to dark can help too, so get those candles out. 

4. Sleep on your non-dominant side, in a foetal position. This is a "sleep secure" mindset, which helps you enter the deeper sleep stages, which help you recover from the day. The idea is, as I explained earlier, to let your animal self feel secure. Your vital organs are protected in this sleeping position and you have your dominant arm ready to fend off attacks. 

5. Avoid rich, fatty and sugary meals in the evening. These take longer to digest, keep your body active and raise your body temperature.

After the event I have tried to create myself a pre-sleep routine. I don't follow this religiously, which perhaps explains why I still have trouble sleeping sometimes... But when I do it does help. I often have a shower in the evening, and I then prepare myself a hot cup of herbal tea. I read a magazine or a book until I start to feel so tired I can't concentrate and then make my way to bed. Usually I try to be in bed by 11PM so I am ready for my 6AM wake-up... Oh, the joys of living with kids.


clipper teas and canapes on a table


From the event I got a bunch of Clipper Teas to take home, and I have incorporated these into my evening routine. I've drank their teas before as well, as I have liked their fair-trade and natural ethos. The teas I got are all from Clipper Teas sleep range - Sleep Easy, Snore & Peace and their new Super Green Sleepy Decaf. Of the three different teas, my favourite has been the Super Green - I learned to love green tea when I lived in Japan and this had a lovely mild aroma to it. Unlike normal green tea it also has a bit of chamomile, lavender and lemon balm, meant to help you in drifting off later. 

The event was organised to promote this new green tea, the Super Green Sleepy Decaf, so we of course got to hear more about it there. Decaffeinated green tea was a new thing for me. Before the event I always thought that green tea is naturally caffeine free, thus I have enjoyed it in the evenings even if I have long deliberately avoided caffeinated drinks after 6PM due to the potential sleep issues. So if you too try and avoid caffeine due to sleep issues, make a note of that - normal green tea could affect your sleep!


a woman drinking tea on a sofa


It is tricky to try and unwind after a long day at work, and the hectic schedule that comes with living as a family in London. It feels like you are always on the go. Ready for action. Always doing something. Life really whizzes past you and I quite often feel just overwhelmed. But hopefully once my new sleep routines will bed in, and I start to be more strict with myself, my life balance will improve. When I sleep well, I feel like I do much better at everything... 
Sleeping better: 5 top tips from a sleep coach to the Olympians. If you have trouble falling asleep this post gives several tips how to get a better sleep routine.


How do you sleep? What kid of tips do you have for sleep?





2 comments:

  1. Great Tips! I especially like the 90 minute prep before bed. Makes so much sense when you think of the sleep cycles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does doesn't it. I do definitely feel that on those days when I've followed that 90 minute idea, I do naturally start to get sleepy and doze off easier.

      Delete

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