5 top tips for better sleep
Our bodies require sleep to function properly, both mentally and physically. With enough sleep, you will notice improved concentration, alertness, mood and ability to function. Sleeping is the single biggest thing one can do to heal the body. However, nurses and midwives are known for struggling to get the sleep that they need to perform at their peak.
Fitness nutritionist and personal trainer Anthea Strachan shares her top tips to promote a good night’s sleep, so you wake up fighting fit!
Set a regular bed time
Now this may sound at odds with shift work, but you need to look at creating a weekly routine you can stick to that works around this. It is also a good idea to rest your body on your days off and have the same bedtime on these days.
With today’s technology at our finger tips, this is easy. Apple has our bedtime app, set a reminder every night 30 minutes before bedtime. It will become habit and the body will intuitively ready itself for bed.
Make sure you go to bed at the set time when you can. As you form a pattern, you will set up the routine that the body is ready to sleep at this time. Having sporadic and differing bedtimes confuses the body making it that much harder to fall asleep every night.
Wake at the same time daily
Again this is a tad more difficult when you’re a shift working, but try to create consistency with your shifts that week, and use days off to rest yourself.
This will start to set your body clock correctly. As most of us know, 8 hours is the optimum amount of sleep we should have. By following point one, and waking 8 hours from your bedtime, you will wake feeling refreshed and ready to go.
Who wants to have those sluggish mornings when even the largest cup of coffee doesn’t wake you? Soon, I will be writing on artificial stimulants such as caffeine and why these are not great for the body.
Reduce stimulation before bed
Being stimulated is one of the key reasons why people struggle to get to sleep. And the problem is, there are so many stimulants that can keep us awake!
Common stimulant include TV (especially in the bedroom), exercise, caffeine, chocolate and exposure to blue light (which you get from phone and computer screens).
Avoid these at least half an hour before bed, so that your body can prepare to go to sleep. You should also refrain from having caffeine or chocolate at least five hours before bedtime, so that it doesn’t affect your sleep.
Stop eating at least two hours before bed
When the body is processing food, it can do little else. So if you eat your biggest meal of the day just before bedtime, your body will go into the first stages of digestion. This means that all the other repairing that needs to happen when you sleep will be put on the back burner until it has gone through this stage of the digestion process. Furthermore, during this first stage of digestion, the body is at its most active, and you may find yourself struggling to get to sleep.
Give yourself time between your last meal and your bedtime, so that your body can overcome a full stomach and go past this first stage of digestion. Plus, you’ll find that by leaving this time between your last meal and sleep you will almost certainly reduce weight retention.
Create a quiet and dark space
And by quiet and dark, I mean quiet and dark. That mean no remote controls, TVs, phones or electronic equipment. The blue light and electrical forces can disturb your sleep.
Using shutters and closing your doors can also assist with creating this environment.
However, I know that sometimes it’s near impossible to have a dark space. That’s where the good, old eye mask comes in handy. It’s not just a luxury item found on a plane – it’s also your best friend when it comes to removing light.
Sleep is incredibly important to ensuring that you’re performing at your best. Start your self-care bedtime routine and in a very short space of time you will be sleeping like a baby.
This article was proudly sponsored by Fit Finder.
If you would like to learn more about how to take care of your body, or organise a full session with Anthea, simply go to the Fit Finder website.
For your first session, use the code: Nurse50 to receive $50 off your first session to give it a try!