Sleep: it’s free. And we all want more of it, so why is it so hard to get? Specifically – that consistent, restorative, uninterrupted, eight-hours-a-night kinda sleep. Which is why we’ve enlisted Sydney-based sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo to solve our myriad of sleep concerns with our Sleep Well Wednesdays series. Check back every fortnight and you’ll be off to the land of nod before you know it.
Following up from last week, this last piece for 2022 is the last round up of my top 22 sleep tips from the year.
If you were too busy sipping Christmas cocktails and eating canapes last week, we have already covered tips for your bedtime routine, supplements, bedroom and alcohol. Check it out here.
Those tips, in addition to these today, form a firm foundation for your best night’s sleep over the Christmas break, well into 2023 – enjoy.
3 tips for taking your best nap (because, holiday season!)
1. Keep it short
Ideally, less than 30 minutes.
Identified as the perfect nap length, keeping your rests short will prevent you from going into deep sleep, which may leave you waking with sleep inertia, that feeling of being drunk.
2. Keep it dark
Light plays an important role in sleep, so try wearing an eye mask! Darkness helps your body produce melatonin, the sleepiness hormone.
3. Keep it early
The art of a nap is in the timing. I recommend finishing the nap before 3:30pm. This enables you to get your second wind without sabotaging your sleep that night.
3 tips for falling back to sleep when you wake in the middle of the night
1. Do NOT go on your phone
I know this can be SO tempting but it will only cause you to stay awake even longer. Light signals to your brain that it’s time to be alert, awake and energised.
2. Ideally, don’t switch on the lights either
Similarly, switching on bright lights will also excite the brain and indicate it’s time to get up and get ready for the day. While I understand you can’t see in the dark, if you do need to use a light, simply make sure you are wearing a pair of blue light glasses prior to switching them on.
3. If you are awake longer than 20 minutes, get up and read a book
Forcing your brain to focus on a particular stimuli is challenging – and the effort required helps you fall back to sleep.
This is particularly important for those who wake with a racing mind, often around 3am.
3 tips for falling asleep faster
1. Know your chronotype
…And go to bed at the right time for you. Not everyone should go to bed at 10pm, and for some of us, this will only increase the time it takes us to fall asleep.
Take my chronotype quiz to find out what you are, then come back here. Lions, 10pm bedtime; Bears, 10:30pm (or even 11pm); Wolves, 11pm (or even 11:30pm).
2. Take a shower or ideally, a bath
This helps reduce your body temperature (emerging from a warm shower or bath to a cool room), which is a precursor for melatonin production.
3. Have a quality mattress
Falling asleep with ease is somewhat dependent on you being comfortable, and your mattress plays a pivotal role in that. Remember, it should feel right for you, your sleeping profile and your preferences, and should be just as comfortable now as when you bought it.
If that’s not happening, consider investing in a new one – and ask yourself these key questions first.
2 tips for sleeping deeper
1. Know it’s possible for you
…Even if you’re a light sleeper. Though you may feel like it’s a curse, know that it’s possible to get the sleep you need, you just may need to go the extra mile to achieve it.
As such, action these 7 science based sleep tips and you’ll be able to sleep deeper, even if you are a classic ‘light sleeper’. Note the article speaks to those wanting to sleep easier before a big event, it will help deepen sleep for you too.
2. Go alcohol free
I mentioned it last week but i’ll mention it again, because it is silly season. Alcohol limits sleep depth, particularly after 3am, and can lead to repeated abrupt wakings through the night.
As the last Sleep Well Wednesdays piece for the year, before I sign off completely, just wanted to extend my gratitude to you for being here, showing up, and investing time and energy in living your best life, via the vehicle of sleep.
It’s been a pleasure to take you on the ride, and I commend you in being in the driver’s seat.
I trust my advice has been helpful, highlighted many new and novel ways to sleep better and given you hope that you too, can eventually, get the sleep you know, love and need. If it’s not happening yet, I wish this upon you for 2023, and look forward to being with you on that journey.
Until then, Sleep Well Wednesdays community, sleep well x