3 tips for good sleep hygiene

Sleep hygiene is the term used for the routine practiced to help get a good night’s sleep. Here are three sleep hygiene habits to help you drift off into a sweet slumber.

1. Reduce screen time

Yes, binge-watching your favourite TV show on your tablet, surfing the web or tapping away on your phone or laptop before bed makes it harder to fall asleep. This is because you are stimulating your brain’s cognitive and electrical activity by firing up your neurons, which prevents you from calming down into a restful state, ready for a good night’s sleep. More than that, the blue light emitted from a device’s screen at bedtime can signal to the brain that it is still daytime, which reduces the body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle, and helps you drift off to sleep. Give yourself at least half an hour of gadget-free time before bed to rest your brain and signal to the body that it is time to sleep. Avoid temptation by making your bedroom a gadget-free zone, as charging your phone in your room can also disrupt sleep through text and alert sounds and the screen lighting up while you sleep.

2. Calm down

It’s important to switch your nervous system from a state of high-activity into rest and restore mode. One way to do this is to have a hot shower or soak in a warm bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil or a cup of epsom salts to relax your muscles. Be sure to cleanse your face thoroughly and gently massage in a beauty-boosting hydrating formula. You can also try meditating for 10 to 20 minutes before going to bed or lying with your legs up the wall for five to ten minutes to relieve tired leg muscles. Why not try restorative yoga or deep belly breathing exercises to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system to restore a calm state.

3. Avoid alcohol

A nightcap before bed can make you feel drowsy and can even help you to fall asleep faster, yet drinking before bed can disrupt your deep REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, causing a lighter, less refreshing sleep. This is because drinking alcohol before bed initially produces good slow-wave delta sleep patterns but also increases your active alpha-wave patterns at the same time, which gives mixed signals to the brain, resulting in non-restful and disrupted sleep. What’s more, the effects of this warring brain activity cancels out many of the regenerative and beauty benefits of sleep and may be the reason you wake up tired and suffer daytime drowsiness and decreased concentration.

The solution? Avoid drinking alcohol at least three to four hours before bedtime and instead reach for a soothing non-alcoholic drink, like SLEEP Inner Beauty Powder.

 

How do you nurture your beauty sleep routine?

Why you should ditch your device after dark…

One cannot think well, love well or dine well if one has not slept well, to paraphrase that famous quote by author Virgina Woolf.

And, it’s fair to say when you look at the research on sleep and its impact on our health, that one cannot expect to glow unless they go to bed on time.

Why is sleep such a hot topic right now?

On average, we are now sleeping two hours less a night than we did 70 years ago and the effects on our well-being are becoming impossible to ignore.

There is growing scientific evidence about the negative effects of short and long-term sleep deprivation.

Yet the arrival of smart devices has led to some less-than-smart screen behaviours and social media addictions that impact the quality and quantity of our sleep.

So how much is enough?

Most of us need at least seven to nine hours sleep a night. For some, 10 is the magic number.

If you feel like you don’t have time for sleep, think about what you have to gain. Studies have shown people who sleep more enjoy better moods, energy, mental agility, attention spans, memory, gross motor skills and faster reaction times. They also have more balanced hormones and are less likely to overeat and gain weight. Plus good sleep is vital for healthy skin and immunity.

What happens when we don’t get enough?

Short and long sleep deprivation have been linked to anxiety, depression, mood swings and irritability, a slow metabolism, overeating and weight gain, forgetfulness, foggy thinking, lethargy, inflammation, oxidative stress, premature ageing, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and compromised immunity.

Poor sleep can reduce your body’s production of important hormones such as human growth hormone, thyroid hormone, and melatonin, plus it encourages the production of the stress hormone cortisol which can have a negative impact on your skin’s health and overall well-being.

During sleep is when your body protects and repairs damage from oxidation by mopping up free radicals and also when the body detoxifies. So it’s not surprising one study found people who sleep less have an increased risk of health problems.

But if that still isn’t enough motivation to send yourself to bed early, poor sleep also lowers male and female testosterone levels which support a healthy sex drive.

Good sleep needs to be scheduled …

Of course, not everyone finds it easy to get enough Z’s. It’s estimated up to a third of Australian adults regularly have difficulty either getting to sleep or staying asleep. But there is plenty you can do before bed to improve your sleep.

Start by scheduling what time you need to get up the next morning and then count backward nine hours to determine what time you need to go to bed.

Turn on your red light

The blue light emitted by screens has been shown to mess with our circadian rhythms and keep our brains awake. But you can go to the display settings on your device and switch the backlight on your screen from blue to red between certain times for example from 7pm to 7am.

Enforce an electronic sundown and shut down all your devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Then leave them to recharge in another part of your home. Resist the urge to take them in your bedroom.

Dim all of the lights in your home about an hour before bed to signal to your brain it’s time to produce melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy. If the light on your alarm clock is too bright, move it to another room too.

Practice good sleep hygiene habits…

Experiment with sleep rituals that will become second nature, just like cleansing your face and cleaning your teeth before bed. Avoid difficult conversations with your partner or housemates and resist checking social media before bedtime. Take a warm bath in dim light, do some gentle yoga stretches or spend 10 minutes with your legs up against the wall. Then read a book or magazine in bed instead of a screen for half an hour before turning the lights out. Or you could try writing in a journal or meditating to calm your body and mind.

Indulge in a nourishing nightcap…

Avoid eating for a few hours before bed because digestion disrupts deep sleep. While alcohol may help you relax and fall asleep quicker, it actually reduces the amount of deep Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep you get, thus reducing the quality of your sleep.

For a more nourishing nightcap, stir one teaspoon of Sleep Inner Beauty Powder into a cup of gently warmed nut or coconut milk.

Scientifically formulated to soothe your senses and promote deep sleep, it’s a potent, organic, bio-fermented, probiotic and antioxidant-rich turmeric, herb and spice blend.

Sleep Inner Beauty Powder includes passionflower and lemon balm, herbs which have been used in traditional western herbal medicine as sedatives to support sleep, soothe nerves and relieve mild anxiety symptoms. Plus it contains bio-fermented turmeric (to aid digestion), skin-loving pawpaw, melatonin-rich sour cherry and 1.5 billion probiotics per serve.

Stir mindfully, sip slowly and then sleep like a baby.

 

For more health and beauty inspiration, browse our blog here.

CHOCOLATE & PEPPERMINT CRUNCH

– Makes 24 squares

INGREDIENTS 

Base

  • 1⁄2 cup (100g) buckwheat groats
  • 1⁄4 cup (30g) cacao powder
  • 11⁄2 cups (165g) pecans
  • 1⁄4 cup (60ml) maple syrup 40g nut butter
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
  • pinch of Himalayan salt

Filling

  • 1 medium avocado, halved, stone removed and flesh scooped out
  • 1⁄2 cup (125g) coconut butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 teaspoons CLEANSE Inner Beauty Powder or barley grass powder
  • pinch of Himalayan salt
  • 4-6 drops of essential food-grade peppermint oil, to taste

Raw chocolate

  • 1⁄3 cup (35g) cacao powder
  • 35g cacao butter, coarsely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 3 teaspoons coconut oil

METHOD

  1. Lightly grease and line a 25 x 16 x 3cm tray with baking paper.
  2. To prepare the base, lightly toast the buckwheat groats in a medium frying pan over low-medium heat for 2 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
  3. Set aside to cool.
  4. Place the remaining base ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend until finely chopped and mixture begins to bind together. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the toasted buckwheat and stir to combine. Press into the base of the prepared tray. Smooth over with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until firm.
  5. To prepare the filling, combine all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth. Spread the filling over the set base. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  6. To make the raw chocolate, half-fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a simmer. Place all of the ingredients in a heatproof bowl. Take the pan off the heat and set the bowl over the top.
  7. Ensure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Leave for 5 minutes, or until the cacao butter and coconut oil melt. Stir to combine.
  8. Pour the raw chocolate over the filling, tilting the tray or spreading to cover in an even layer. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, or until set.
  9. Using a hot knife, cut into 24 squares.
  10. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Alternatively, you can freeze for up to 3 months.

 

For more inner beauty recipes, click here.

IN STYLE APRIL 2017

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