Written by: Thomas Willoughby
Many of us struggle to switch off after work at night.
Sleep is an extremely important part of transforming your life and getting into the best shape possible. Even to becoming your best self!
The problem is, the majority of people are unable to get sufficient quality of sleep.
Upon our initial member consultations, we ask several questions about sleep and sleep quality. Here are five strategies we suggest our members implement if they are not getting enough, or good quality sleep.
- Meditation and Deep Breathing Exercises
These two practices help a person to induce a greater parasympathetic state.
Most people this generation are ‘chest breathers’. This has come about from years of sitting down , hunched over, at a desk.
Excessive chest breathing has implications on your body, quite often the muscular and systemic dysfunctions manifest themselves into neck pains, headaches and upper back aches and pains.
Diaphragm breathing is what is considered ‘proper breathing’. When you breathe in (through your nose) the air should go all the way down to your stomach.
Many meditation and deep breathing exercises focus on the power of breathing, and will get you to practice diaphragm breathing. This deeper breathing state forms the perfect combination for a pre-bed ritual. Just some of the benefits include clearing the mind of stressful thoughts and creating a greater sense of calmness as you fall asleep.
- Lay in bed, placing a hand on your stomach.
- Breathe deeply through your nose (you should feel your hand rise).
- Hold your breath for a few seconds, and then slowly exhale.
- Gratitude Journal
When your grateful, you can’t be fearful or anxious. The feelings are completely opposed and cannot exist together at one time.
It is very calming and prevents the mind from stressing over other thoughts all night.
Purchase a diary, and every night before bed, write down a reason why you are grateful.
“I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given”
“I am grateful for my family and how I have been raised”
“I am grateful for my chance to create my own future”
Stick with it for a month! We promise it will positively impact your sleep (and your life).
- Put down your Phone
Not only this, turn off the T.V and your Laptop. Make yourself a rule of electronics before bed.
Artificial light is one of the greatest contributors to sleep problems in the modern age.
The blue light emitted from electronics disrupts the body’s natural sleep-wake cycles. The blue light tricks your mind into thinking that it is day-time. Such consequences include the inhibition of melatonin production which negatively affects your ability to fall asleep.
We advise our Members to stop using electronics 30-60 minutes before bed. Take up reading, or organise yourself for the next day instead.
If you’re one of those people that need to work on their laptops until they’re falling asleep, download the F.lux App (Windows) and Night Shift (Apple). It works by automatically adjusting the colour temperature of your screen and attempts to match the light of your screen to the natural light outside.
- Read Fiction
Yes, Fiction. And only fiction!
By reading fiction, your brain travels to an imaginary world. No, this doesn’t mean you have to read about Vampires and Werewolves. Fiction encompasses Crime, Thriller, Mysteries and Romance. Reading non-fiction only stimulates your brain with bright ideas and future planning. Not ideal when you’re trying to quieten your mind!
Fiction helps to reduce stress levels and relaxes the body. It allows you to disengage with all the work you have done in the day, and makes for the perfect environment for falling asleep.
- Go for a walk
If you exercise before bed, it needs to be relaxing. An evening walk is a perfect choice.
It will help you switch off from your day, and allows you to reflect inwards. Always pick to same streets to walk, your mind will learn the directions, making them automatic.
These tips may seem like a lot, so we suggest to take them one step at a time. Slowly building on them to help with the quality of your sleep.