A shower before bed – yes or no, according to experts? What else should we be doing? And, overall, how well are we sleeping, as a nation, post-pandemic? Asking Sydney based sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo, she confirms: “a shower before bed can help you sleep a little easier. Here, she shares exactly what is in a good bedtime routine, and the impact of COVID19 on Aussie’s sleep.
Post pandemic, how well are Aussies sleeping?
Sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo, said that the Covid pandemic caused the average Aussie’s sleep to get worse.
“It’s a continuing spiral downwards. Overall, anxiety and stress continue to rise, as does our incessant use of screens [phones etc] pre-bed,” Arezzolo told news.com.au.
“Similarly, our schedules are back to being overwhelmingly busy, now that we have social time thrown in the mix.
“This has been noted by the European Sleep Centre too – reporting that lockdowns were detrimental due to the loss of routine, however as most individuals adjusted to a new routine, and are now having to readapt to former routines, sleep is again suffering.”
A survey conducted by The Body Shop revealed a third of Aussies are sleeping less than six hours a night – despite needing at least seven each night – with one in five anxious about the amount of sleep they are having.
And women in Australia are only averaging six hours 42 minutes sleep every night.
Studies reveal sleeping less than seven hours every 24-hour cycle can lead to weight gain, depression, immune deficiency, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, weight gain, obesity, cancer, diabetes and even suicide.
Arezzolo said these results aren’t surprising: “It does confirm what I believe though: We need to address sleep on a national level and allocate additional funding for sleep-focused health campaigns,” she said.
What’s in a good bedtime routine, and how can this help us sleep better?
As a remedy to that, Arezzolo advises a good bedtime routine. For this, first of all is shutting off technology, as blue lights from phones, laptops, tablets and televisions are known to impact sleep.
The next step Arezzolo recommended was a shower before bed, as it promotes melatonin production.
“While in the shower, I recommend integrating calming scents. First, in your body wash, such as lavender and vetiver, as both reduce activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which can otherwise make you feel tense,” she said.
“Once you move back into the bedroom, creating a perfect sleep sanctuary. This means no screens, a spritz of these calming scents in a pillow spray and dabbing your pulse points with the oils too is a great place to start.”
Is there anything else we should do in our bedtime routine?
She said once in bed it’s good to meditate or read a book for 20 minutes, leaving your phone on the other side of the room.
She said it was important to leverage these tools.
Arezzolo said: “Reflecting on the European Sleep Centre, those struggling with sleep should ensure they have a proper wind-down routine. This includes not using screens and having minimal light.
“Reducing caffeine intake after 12pm – that’s one. Avoiding alcohol completely, plus making your room cool – 19C is ideal – are some more simple steps which can improve sleep.”
This article originally featured on news.com.au.