This may sound like a crazy question but I suspect that, with the increasing pace of our lives, most of you have periods of disturbed sleep. And when you do sleep, are you waking feeling refreshed?
If not, there are small changes you can make to (in time) make a huge difference to how well you sleep.
Simplify life. Are you wasting time on unimportant tasks? That doesn't include relaxing! You need relaxation or playing with your kids or taking in an hour of TV – all of those things are restorative and necessary. But watching TV can be addictive. As can checking facebook. The brain is plastic and allows for easy, enjoyable tasks to become routine more easily than challenging tasks.
So, what to do?
Get 7+ hours of sleep
Sleep is essential. Despite this, millions of people do not sleep enough and experience unbelievable problems as a result.
Daytime sleepiness can interfere with daily activities. It can also affect mood and of course, energy levels. If you've been tired a long time, you'll have forgotten some of the benefits of feeling well-slept and alert. Thes einclude benefits you'll notice such as improved memory, attention span and less frustration and impateince. But also a reduction in inflammation and a decreased risk of depression.
If you're waking up at 4am then you need to go to bed a couple of hours earlier than you'd like to.
You need to make sleep your priority.
If you want to feel healthy and balanced, get moving. Regularly. Whether it's a walk part of the way to work, a few days a week in the gym, some heavy gardening work or a mix of swimming, yoga and cycling; exercise has been found to decrease your chance of depression, anxiety, and stress. It also helps to improve the quality of your sleep.
Have some protein with breakfast
Protein-rich foods keep you full longer than other foods because they take longer to leave the stomach. Also, protein keeps blood-sugar levels steady, which prevents spikes in hunger.
Eating protein first decreases your refined carbohydrate cravings.
Try to eat at least 40% of your breakfast calories as protein. Eggs are fabulous for breakfast. You can even make baked eggs in muffin tins in advance. At the least, add some slow release items to your muesli - nuts, seeds, coconut are all helpful
Switch off at least an hour before bed
Please, please try this if you are struggling to get to sleep and if you are struggling to stay asleep. This means your brain, as well as phones, tablets etc. If you are worrying about things and waking during the night, keep a small notebook by the bed and write down your points. This will allow to drop the thought process and gives you a better chance of resting.
By all means use a warm bath, a short meditation or some gentle yoga in the hour before bed to help you unwind. Even TV is better than work/Facebook/internet shopping etc. make sure your room is as dark as it can be so that you have no reason to be disturbed.
Dave Robson takes you through some more simple ideas here: