'What I'd give for a good night's sleep'!
A high percentage of mums suffer from a chronic lack of sleep, which leaves them tired, irritable, depressed and at risk of weight gain and long-term health problems. While it's impossible to instantly snap your fingers and turn your energetic little angels into sleeping beauties – there are a few simple tricks that are scientifically supported to help you improve your sleep, when you finally get the chance.
Mum's risk with sleep deprivation
You only need to know what it feels like to have a beautiful night's sleep – heaven. In contrast, a lack of sleep leaves you feeling like metaphorical hell. And there's real truth to this, because sleep is the process whereby the brain eliminates toxins and metabolic debris and repairs itself. It’s also when the brain consolidates the day’s memories, regulates hormones and repairs at a cellular level. In the long-term, a lack of sleep contributes to ageing and increases disease risk. We truly do need to show ourselves the love and sleep better.
Dear diary.... how I'm feeling today (again!):
• Stressed and anxious
• Zero weight loss!
1. Try and Get to Bed 'Early'
If you're used to staying up late then make a real effort to try and get to bed earlier – try it during the week and then at the weekend, give yourself the licence to stay up late on Friday and Saturday. By winding-down earlier, you'll be surprised at the improvement in your sleep, since it syncs your body clock with nature. Typically, this means earlier to bed as the evenings get shorter, since we need more sleep over the winter.
2. Caffeine Control – Friend or Foe?
Caffeine is the secret fuel behind many mums – and it does have its perks, such as boosting energy in the morning, giving us a little me time and even offering health benefits due to its antioxidants. However, caffeine can also has a negative side, including insomnia, stress and anxiety. Caffeine affects us for around five hours but varies between individuals, so be aware of this and try not to consume caffeinated products much later than mid-afternoon. Switching to guarana (included in Neubria Drift
) is a worthwhile alternative, as well as compounds such as l-theanine that offset caffeine’s stimulating effects. Other interesting options include getting creative with teas – try ginger, lemon and Manuka honey.
3. Exercise at the Right Time
Physical exercise is important for health and sleep, with the typical recommendation being 20-30 minutes exercise a day, but not less than 5-6 hours before going to bed. This is because one metabolic trigger that helps prepare the body for sleep is a slight lowering of body temperature and since exercise elevates temperature, it causes a disruption of this natural signalling of preparedness for sleep. However, what if this isn't an option – and you can only train in the evening? In this case, take a contrast shower, ending with a cool phase; this strategy will help coax the body into relaxation and sleep mode. Taking a walk or exercising in the morning light is another great way to set your body clock into action, leading the better sleep in the evening.
4. Morning Light & Night Romance
The wonder of the modern world – laptops, iPhone's, Facebook, Netflix, messaging, bright lights... but unfortunately an overload of blue light exposure, which is known to stop the release of the sleep hormone, melatonin. That's a recipe for bad sleep! The biggest culprit are tablet devices, which emit shorter wavelength radiation and are held closer to the eyes. However, larger screens, computer monitors and televisions also contribute to the problem. Try and use the last few hours before bed engaged in activities like reading paper literature, listening to relaxing music or planning for the next day. Dim the lights as early as you can, opting for evening calm and ambiance.
5. Make Your Bedroom a Sleep Sanctuary
When it comes to dimming the lights early and winding-down, you can go a step further by turning your bedroom onto a sleep sanctuary. Ensure your room is super dark by using blinds or thick curtains – and reach for your beauty mask, too. Use very soft lighting, such as dimmer lights or crystal salt lamps, light some aromatherapy candles and turn off all non-essential tech. Give your room a makeover to ensure it feels cozy and relaxing – and since retro style is in, investing in an old-fashioned type of alarm clock that emits no light is an excellent sleep hack. Another important factor is bedroom temperature - the perfect room temperature for sleeping is 18° C. Put on the essential oils, get some massage oils (self massage or a partner) and think about meditation audios, dreamy audio books or just chilling to relaxing music – bliss.
6. Night-time Protein Cocoa
Taking a night cap with an alcoholic nightcap might induce a sense of relaxation for some, but it can cause short night-time brain arousals that can prevent truly restorative sleep; it also destroys collagen so is a big no for glowing skin! A cup of high protein coco (made with protein powder and milk), or a healthy protein bar and a mug of hot milk, is a much better option. A small snack containing protein plus a little bit of carby sweetness will help any tryptophan taken at night to be better absorbed into the brain, which will help increase levels of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. Ideally, taking Neubria Drift
at this time will optimise your brain for sleep.
7. Take Control of Stress – Easier Said than Done?
Stress is the biggest killer of most things – sex, wellbeing, and most definitely – sleep. The reality is, you probably already know this, and simply saying 'Reduce you stress' might just make it even worse. If only it was that easy! The best option is to acknowledge your stress, and then try and make small lifestyle changes that make you feel better. Mind-body techniques like meditation, yoga, and tai chi or relaxation techniques such as guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation and self-hypnosis have proven beneficial in stress reduction. Journaling is another effective tool for writing down your negative thoughts, before ending with gratitude. Whatever it takes – you goal is to find calm in the hour before sleep.