Crappy sleep, ain’t nobody got time for that. In my teens I had no trouble sleeping, often sleeping in until late morning or early afternoon on weekends and only getting up because mum would bang on my door and yell at me to get up and do my jobs. Sleep quality wasn’t an issue because it was usually pretty great.
Fast forward a couple of decades and suddenly great sleep isn’t something that just happens. There’s a slew of nighttime activities like social media, great TV shows, occasional alcohol, late dinners, that can interfere with your zzzz’s big time.
Some of that stuff you can change, but you’re not always going to nail it 100% of the time. Most people know the modern basics of getting a good night's sleep. A regular bedtime, eat a light dinner early, minimal screen time, and minimise alcohol consumption during the week. But, if you’re like me, you’ve probably got a few great TV shows on the go, check your phone during the boring bits, and maybe enjoy a glass of something if it’s been a particularly stressful day.
So, what can you do to help your mind and body feel sleepy in the lead up to hitting the hay?
PUT THESE ON - Blue Blocker Glasses
Definitely at the quirky end of my recommendations to induce a good night’s sleep, blue blocker glasses are orange lense glasses (but not always) designed to block out the blue light that’s emitted from our television, computer, tablet, phone, and just about every source of artificial light. If you’ve sat around a campfire on a camping trip, chances are you would have experienced tiredness come on much more significantly as opposed to when you are at home surrounded by artificial light. Blue light inhibits the sleep hormone melatonin from being released into the bloodstream, which means you won’t feel as naturally tired in the lead up to bedtime. Wear a pair of these glasses and not only will you sleep more soundly, you’ll feel like going to bed at the time you know you should be. You can order a pair of these extremely fashionable bad boys (sarcasm) from Aussie wellness website Optimoz or go for super stylish (not sarcasm) but slightly more expensive option from Brisbane startup EXYRA.
Pro tip: If you haven’t already, install f.lux on any electronic device you can. This piece of software puts a soft orange hue on your screen as the sun goes down to replicate a similar effect to the blue blocker glasses. If you have an iPhone, you can access the built in ‘Night Shift’ mode by going to Settings->Display & Brightness->Night Shift. You can further edit the colour temperature and times it is enabled.
SHUT YOUR MOUTH! - Leukopor Non Toxic Tape
‘Mate, excuse me 😡!?’, I hear you say? If you thought wearing orange glasses in the lead up to bed was whacky, you’re definitely going to raise the other eyebrow at this suggestion. Sleep with your lips sticky taped shut for the whole night. Clinical Nutritionist Rohan Smith suggested this one when I told him of my restless and broken sleep. The logic behind the loco (if you can move past the initial freak that your night time brain won’t be clever enough to keep you breathing through your nose) is that breathing through our nose activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which puts us in a state of relaxation and allows the body to do a better job of healing, digestion and detoxifying the body. If you are a snorer, this could also be a simple solution to settle it down, as it follows the same principle as a chin strap. You can pick up some non toxic tape up at your local Chemist Warehouse or order it online.
There are a bunch of additional sleep hygiene activities that will set you up for a better night’s shut eye and I’d love to hear yours.
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If a chronic lack of sleep is negatively impacting your life, get along to your preferred health care professional who can help you get to the bottom of it.