A good night's sleep starts with what you do during the day
Getting a good night's sleep isn't just about having healthy sleep habits at night. The things we do through the day set up our body's responses in the evening and regular habits like sitting in the sun in the morning can help us sleep better.
When we think about sleep often we only think about our evening habits. But what we do through the day also has a huge impact on the quality of our sleep and how easy it is to get there.
When we can’t sleep, quite often we only look at what’s happening at nighttime. But the reality is the things we do through the day can make a big impact on how we sleep at night.
Let’s have a look at some of those things that can help you.
1. Expose yourself to bright light first thing in the morning
The first thing to help encourage a regular sleeping time is to set your body clock. When you first wake up in the morning expose yourself to bright light – sit in direct sunlight, have your morning cuppa in the sun, or go for a walk to get outside and in the bright light. This sets our circadian rhythms and helps our body wake up, but it also helps our bodies to recognise the time to be awake and the time to go to sleep. One of the best things to help get a good night’s sleep is to create those rhythms and set those patterns, which starts from the moment we wake up in the morning.
2. Teach your body to turn off, even during the day
Now throughout the day, what you want to do is keep your body in balance. We can have an environmental mis-match where the brain has been super busy but your body has been sitting down all day. This can mean your body may become restless and your mind will continue whirring in response to the energy of your body or your brain is fatigued from the exertion of the day. This unbalance in your activity levels can mean your body and brain don’t match up when you try to turn them both off for the evening.
Before we can ever possibly face a proper sleeping routine we need to be able to switch our bodies off. Learning how to turn off is something we rarely do actively but consciously showing our bodies how to slow down and take rest will make a huge difference to our ability to sleep when we want to be asleep. We can be on the go all day and then we lie down to sleep but haven’t taught our body to slow down, so we toss and turn and can’t get comfortable in our beds. One of the ways we can teach our body to slow down and turn off is to every couple of hours close your eyes take a moment to take a conscious breath. Just notice how you’re breathing at first, and actively try to slow it down so you’re not caught in a fast and shallow breathing pattern. These practices over time teaches your body how to be off.
How you breath is your body’s language. If you can stop and check in with yourself then you can correct the course of that ship. If you’re overwhelmed or stressed it gives you a moment to reset.
3. Keep the high intensity exercise to earlier in the day
The other thing to look at is when we move our body and how. If you’re doing high intensity training at night or doing intensive exercise later in the day it can lead to a restless sleep or difficulty sleeping. Try doing your big body moving earlier and a gentler activity in the evening.
If you feel like you’ve been nailing your sleep routine and you’re still having trouble sleeping – try looking at these things you’re doing through the day as well and they might help make the difference between a good night sleep and a restless slumber.