I’ve got a complicated relationship with sleep. I come from a family with a huge back history of sleep-related issues and I swing between weeks of feeling restful and re-charged. To days of complete and utter desperation, which leads to mood swings, lack of concentration, binge-eating sugar, and skin breakouts.
I find it strange that so many people claim “Oh, you can sleep when you’re dead” – Well, actually, as a matter of fact, I’d like to make the most of my time alive thanks. This means, sleep is seriously important and a huge priority to me, as it should be to you.
“Sleep is the unsung hero for our mental health,” said Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation.
My problem is simple, you might be able to relate, but the more I focus on sleep, the harder it is for me to get a better night’s sleep. Which can then lead to things not going as smoothly in my day to day life as I’d like, which then starts something called “The Stress Sleep Cycle“. The cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep is that our ability to concentrate worsens, mood drops, and productivity decreases, all of which can emphasize feelings of stress and anxiety.
Breaking The Stress Sleep Cycle
Here Dr Irshaad Ebrahim shares his top 5 tips to help break the stress-sleep cycle:
1.“Ensure consistency with your bedtime routine.” Going to bed and waking up at the same time helps maintain the circadian rhythm –the body’s 24-hour internal clock.
2.“Switch off your electrical devices.”Bright lights before bed can stimulate us, again interfering with a person’s circadian rhythm. Turning off your electronic devices an hour before bedtime is a powerful intervention to assist sleep –go on try it for two weeks!
3.“Consider trying a traditional herbal remedy (THR)”.Based on long-standing use as traditional herbal remedies, but please speak to your Pharmacist or Doctor before trying this.
4.“Relax and clear your mind” Reducing cortisol levels, and in-turn stress levels, before we go to bed is a must. Try 15 minutes of meditation or breathing exercises beforehand to help decrease anxiety and promote relaxation.
5.“Exercise regularly –but not before bed” Physical activity is great for helping our body balance hormone levels, improving sleep, and reducing stress. It’s a great way to release endorphins and other chemicals in the brain which reduces stress and regulates mood.
I hope that you’ve found this useful, I’m currently reducing my “Screen Time” before bed and it’s already making a huge difference. Please note that some information in this post has been provided by Kalms, however, I’m not making any medical or product recommendations and this is not a sponsored post.