How many meals do you eat in front of the computer (or TV)?
What did you eat for lunch yesterday?
Recently, I was running a corporate health seminar and I posed the question to about 25 people:
“Who eats in front of the computer more than 3x per week?”
I was shocked to see every single person in the room put their hand up. That’s 100% of the room!
The next question I asked was:
“Who remembers what they had for lunch yesterday?
After some time about a third of the group hesitantly put their hand up. So, that’s only about 30% of the room.
Chances are if you don’t fully engage with the experience of eating your lunch you will not even remember what you ate later on that same day, let alone yesterday. Actually, research suggests that when we eat in front of the computer, we become hungry again approximately 20 minutes later and we usually crave sugary foods.
Like many things in our life, eating is one of those things we take for granted and there are so many examples of ‘mindless eating’. Some of us eat just for the sake of filling up, or we eat on the run or we sometimes even forget to eat because we are too busy.
In my role as a Wellness Practitioner this is one of the most common phrases I hear almost everyday.
“I just can’t get a good nights sleep and then I feel tired all day!”
It is no secret that we are turning into a generation of insomniacs. Fast paced lives, digital technology, artificial light, over-stimulated minds, and stressful workplaces all take a toll on our sleep patterns.
Sleep deprivation leads to poor immune function, fatigue, clumsiness, poorer cognitive function and weight loss/gain. The simple fact is we need our sleep (around 8hrs) to have the energy and vitality to function well the next day.
Our time in bed is meant to be a time of rest and restoration. So the better quality sleep you get, the more chance you have to allow the organs and body systems to restore themselves for optimal functionality.
So I thought I’d put together this list of 11 Proven Ways to Sleep Better:
1) Plenty of daylight and fresh air: First of all, get as much time in the sun as possible during the day, exposure to daylight helps regulate the body’s chemicals and internal clock. Take day walks, lunchtime strolls or sunset walks whenever you can. As the daylight wanes the body naturally produces melatonin, helping you become drowsy and sleepier at night.
2) Exercise regularly and especially earlier in the morning: If possible get some exercise early in the day so by the time evening comes you’ve got the adrenalin out of the system and you naturally feel physically tired. There are many studies concluding that aerobic exercise can reduce anxiety and improve quality of sleep and not to mention all the other health benefits of exercise. If you are a night exerciser, then try to finish your workouts at least 2hrs before bedtime.
3) Digital Curfew: Have a time where you turn all your electronic devices off and begin to switch out of work mode. If you use phone alarm, switch to airplane mode and turn all alarm clocks away from you, the artificial light from electronic gadgets can mess up our circadian rhythm and keep you awake.
4) Dim the night-lights: Bright lighting, in particular the “blue light” emitted by most electronic devices, contributes to sleep disturbances. These tell the body it is still an active time of the day and over stimulates you. After dinner, choose a time to dim the lights, perhaps light some candles and get ready for the body and the brain to start winding down.
5) Create a calm bedroom: Make sure your bedroom is de-cluttered and instantly associates your body with rest. Choose nice sheets, pillows, curtains and whatever it takes to make you walk into your bedroom and think peace and calm.
6) Establish a regular bedtime routine: Choose a regular schedule that works for you to let the body know it’s time to unwind from the day’s activity and head to bed (ideally around 10ipm). Even if you read for 30 minutes in bed, stick to that same time as much as you can. Your body will eventually associate that time to sleep and your sleep clock will start rescheduling.
7) Sleepy-time tea: Herbal teas (caffeine free) at the end of the evening are a great way to relax and unwind. If you’re a coffee drinker, keep that for your morning routine as caffeine can remain in your system for 10 or more hours. Try a nice warm cup of Chamomile tea to end your evening.
8) Increase Magnesium: Having some magnesium powder or supplement an hour or so before bed is a great way to relax and support the nervous system. Research suggests magnesium plays a key role in our ability to sleep deeper through the night. You can also include more magnesium-rich foods in your diet, such as seeds, nuts, dark leafy greens, bananas and avocados.
9) Meditation: Establish a short meditation routine a couple of hours before bedtime. You can use some of the many meditation apps available or you can just try a meditation like a simple ‘body scan’ meditation to bring your awareness to your body and out of your active mind.
10) Have a hot soak: There’s nothing like unwinding in a hot bath before bedtime. Add some calming bath salts and just let the body soak up the warmth. Let the stress and activity of the day soak away. You can also listen to soothing music that helps calm the mind.
11) Regular wake-up time: Just like you have a regular bedtime, it’s also beneficial to have a regular wake-up time. This brings the body into the normal circadian rhythm. Of course you can have the occasional, well deserved sleep-in but generally if you stick to consistency the body will establish a healthy sleep pattern.
Try some of these and let me know how you go.
Good night! ZZZZzzzzzzzzz
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