Sleep is as important, if not more important to your health than exercise and nutrition to keep you fit & well.
However, for you as parents, this can be one of the most annoying things for people to tell you. You want to sleep well, its just not always possible to have an uninterrupted nights sleep when you have young (or even not so young) children at home.
But there are definitely some things you can do, to help you get as much, or at least much better sleep.
Here are some top tips for better sleep:
Reduce screen time 1-2 hours before you go to bed
Exposure to light during the day is beneficial, but night time light exposure has the opposite effect on your sleep, this is due to its impact on your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it is still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and get deep sleep.
The worst culprit for this is our electronic devices which emit blue light. Turn on your blue light filter or even better turn off your phone/laptop or tv 1-2 hours before bed.
Keep your bedroom cool and dark
Your bedroom set up can be key to your quality of sleep, factors like temperature, noise, external lights and what activities you do in your bedroom can all effect your sleep.
To optimise your bedroom environment, try to minimise external noise, light and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean and enjoyable place. Keep your room cool too, as you will sleep better due to your core body temperature naturally dropping as you drift into sleep. Cooling down your bedroom can jump start the process and make it easier to doze off.
Get outside in the day, ideally early morning for at least 20 minutes
Your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as your circadian rhythm. It affects your brain, body and hormones, helping you stay awake and telling your body when it’s time to sleep. Getting exposure to natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm in check. It can improve your energy levels in the day as well as improve the quality and duration of your sleep at night. Research has shown that in people with insomnia, daytime bright light exposure improved sleep quality and duration. It also reduced the time it took to fall asleep by 83%. Try getting daily sunlight exposure for at least 20 minutes, ideally early in the day.
Walking the kids to school or walking to work in the morning or joining an early outdoor exercise class are great ways to get outside for at least 20 minutes in the earlier part of the day.
Include daily exercise/movement into your routine
Exercise can promote more sound and restful sleep. Studies show that physical activity increases our time spent in deep sleep, the most physically restorative sleep phase. Deep sleep helps to boost immune function, support cardiac health, and control stress and anxiety. It can also increase the amount we sleep due to the energy you expend when being active.
Regular exercise that is part of a consistent routine will be beneficial for your health and sleep. Why not come along to one of our FIT exercise classes? Whether that’s family FIT or FIT Pilates, both types of exercise can help you feel fitter, stronger and hopefully help you sleep better too!