Fun fact: today is National Sleep Day (yes, it's a real day). And it made us think how many sleep deprived nights we've had lately. For most of us, the whole "eight hours of sleep" is a rarity, and apparently 16 % of Aussies are getting only 5 hours of sleep most nights.
But sleep is crucial for our overall health, and it's important we try to get more proactive with our shut-eye. Dr. Andrew Rochford explains, "A lack of sleep will not only affect your productivity at work or your mood amongst family and friends, it can also cause health issues, from high blood pressure to heart problems. With our lives getting busier and our stress levels increasing, we need to ensure we are allowing our mind and body to get the sleep it needs."
We spoke to Dr. Rochard on the best tips and tricks for a better night sleep, here's what we learnt:
Set your body clock:
"The body clock is a real thing. It is important to set or re-set your body clock, by going to bed and waking up at the same times. This will help you get your body into the rhythm of when to go to sleep and make you feel more refreshed when waking up in the morning. On this note, don't hit the snooze button, you will feel more refreshed if you wake up and not doze off again."
Make sure you have a comfy bedroom:
"It sounds obvious but you need to make sure your bed and bedroom is comfortable to ensure an uninterrupted night sleep. A good quality mattress is vital and should be changed every 8 years. Getting the temperature right will also make sleeping much easier, somewhere between 18 - 20 degrees Celsius is optimum and will save you from tossing and turning with your leg hanging out of the bed trying to get cool and comfy."
Electronics are the biggest no-no:
"Try and switch off electronics like mobile phones and laptops at least an hour before bed. It has been found that the light in our devices tricks our brains into not releasing the melatonin we require to get our minds into sleep mode. Instead of watching the next episode on Netflix, try having a shower or bath to wind down. The best sleep friendly entertainment includes reading a book or listening to music. If you choose to listen to music try something soft like Ed Sheeran over something likely to get the blood pumping - save that for the morning commute."
Start to exercise:
"Just like sleep, exercise does wonders for the body. If you're having trouble sleeping, try and go for runs or walks. The repetitive pace of these activities allows your brain to switch off and relax. By de-stressing through walking or running, you're more likely to be more relaxed and tired when it's time for bed."
Fuel your body with the right food:
" What you put in your body can heavily affect your sleep. Limit your coffee and alcohol intake for a smoother night sleep. If you go to sleep on the later side consider having a later dinner to avoid snacking on high sugar foods. Rise feeling refreshed by starting your day with a glass of water and a balanced breakfast."