From knowing the perfect time to exercise, when to cut the caffeine and trying a calming meditation, today’s masterclass reveals the essential daily habits to set you up for sleep.
Day 3 Article: How to structure your day for better sleep at night
“By making a few changes to your day, you will get a better night’s sleep,” says Dr Shelby Harris. “But don’t get hyper focused on exact timings of what you’re doing when. This is about consistency and making it a natural routine.”
Wake up - always at the same time
Keeping a consistent wake time 7 days a week will improve your sleep at night.
Immediately - seek light
Our internal body clock, or circadian rhythms, are ‘set’ by light and dark, so as soon as you wake, open the shades and find light. If it’s dark outside, put the lights on. Light boxes or dawn stimulators can be really helpful with this too.
10 mins after waking - morning mindfulness
Your bed is only for sleep, so to motivate you to get up, start your day with a 30 minute mindfulness session. It’s a great way to help focus on the present moment. Aim for just a few seconds to begin with, working your way up to more.
8hrs before bed - cut the caffeine
Enjoy your coffee in the morning. You only need to stop your caffeine intake about 8 hours before bed and be aware of ‘hidden’ caffeine in things like painkillers.
8hrs before bed - power nap
If you need to take a nap, this is the only time to do it and it can’t be more than 20 minutes long.
4-6hrs before bed - workout
This is the ‘sweet spot’ of when to exercise to help with sleep. A good sleeper’s body temperature naturally falls just before bed time. This temperature drop releases the hormone melatonin, which makes us feel sleepy. By exercising in this time frame, you’re raising your body temperature so it will fall naturally, encouraging the natural sleep signal.
3hrs before bed - early-bird dinner
Our bodies can’t digest a big meal just before bed so try and eat three hours before. You may need to change your schedule and have a bigger meal earlier in the day and a snack before bed.
3hrs before bed - think about drink
Alcohol drastically effects your quality of sleep so avoid it three hours before bed. And of course, the more liquid you drink, the more likely you’ll need the bathroom. A good rule is 1 cup of liquid within three hours of bedtime and empty your bladder before going to sleep.
2hrs before bed - take a bath
It might seem like a good idea to have a bath before bed, but a good sleeper’s internal temperature lowers just before going to sleep, so allow enough time for your body temperature to drop.
1hr before bed - have a ‘worry moment’
This is a dedicated 20 minutes to sit down and write a list of things that are worrying you. Set a timer, write everything down and as soon as it’s up, your worry moment is over.
Day 3 Meditation: A yoga nidra meditation for a quieter mind
Many of us struggle with a racing mind when we’re trying to fall asleep. Yoga expert Deborah Quibell helps you put those racing thoughts to bed with this guided yoga nidra meditation. Also known as “yogic sleep,” nidra is often used in yoga classes to reach that deeply relaxing state of consciousness between waking and sleeping. Use this soothing session whenever you need it, especially after a hectic day to still your mind and signal downtime.
Day 3 Podcast: Understanding your body clock
Your body clock determines when you go to sleep and when you wake up. Listen to today’s podcast to discover simple tweaks to reset it, and ensure you’re sleepy at bedtime and refreshed when you rise.
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