By Health and Lifestyle speaker Dr. Adam Fraser
Of all the things we can do to help our recovery and deal with stress, sleep goes right to the top of the list. A poor night’s sleep can reduce your cognitive function the next day by 30%.
To keep you bouncing through your day follow these 10 sleep principals:
1. Get Regular! Have a regular bed and wake up time. This helps your body getting used to the pattern and it makes going to sleep and waking up much easier.
2. Go to bed early. The best quality deep sleep comes before midnight. To catch up on sleep most people attempt to sleep in, however the best way to catch up on sleep is to go to bed early.
3. Don’t be hot in bed. An important factor that affects our sleep is body temperature. During the night we get a natural drop in body temperature. However if our body temperature rises it can trigger us to wake up. Avoid heating your room at night - it is much better to have a cool room and warm covers.
4. Wind down routine before bed. Two hours before your normal bedtime start to wind down. Avoid doing work during these hours. Rather, read a book, have a bath or listen to soothing music.
5. Avoid stimulants. After about 2-3 pm in the afternoon stop your intake of caffeine.
6. Dim the lights. A part of your brain called the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN, which controls the secretion of Melatonin, a chemical that helps you sleep) detects light input from the eyes. When the SCN senses light on your eyes it shuts down Melatonin production, likewise when it senses darkness it releases Melatonin. Therefore make your room as dark as possible while you are asleep.
7. Drink up! Make sure you are hydrated properly (2 litres of water a day) and avoid having too much alcohol before bed. When you are dehydrated your body temperature rises and you will often wake up during the night.
8. Move it or loose it. Exercising each day is an easy way to improve the quality of your sleep, because the biochemical make up of your body changes in a favourable way to facilitate deep quality sleep.
9. Catch the wave to bed. There is a 90 minute rhythm called the Ultradian Rhythm that controls how alert we are. During the night look out for when the drowsy part of this rhythm hits you, that is the time your body is naturally prepared to go to sleep.
10. Power on: 20-30 minutes power naps are a fantastic way to make you feel more energised.
Dr Adam Fraser is a human performance researcher and consultant who studies how organisations adopt a high performance culture to thrive in this challenging and evolving business landscape. If you'd like to know more about Adam CLICK HERE or call us on 1300 55 64 69.