4 strategies (and lots of tips!) to improve your sleep and give you the sweetest of dreams

March, the month where we could have a heat wave or snow! This month, here at Kate Campbell Fitness, we are talking all things sleep in line with World Sleep Day.

Whether you are trying to catch that quick nap around sleeping children or trying to fit sleep in around work and your social life, we all know the impact having poor sleep can have. But you may not know that poor sleep can lead to chronic health issues like diabetes, depression, heart disease, and obesity. 

So I have put together some strategies to help you!

1.       Sleep hygiene

  • Wind down for at least 30 minutes before be, try a hot bath 

  • Ditch the electronics an hour before bed- they can hyper-arouse the nervous system and the light from a computer screen can stimulate your brain into thinking it is time to be awake!)

  • Ensure you create a cool, tidy, dark quiet room; try an eye mask and make sure you are comfy

  • Listen to music/ meditate/ practice mindfulness/breathing exercises. The bedroom should be a place for relaxing – not a source of stress.

  • Make sure pets don’t disrupt your sleep

  • Don't use the bedroom as a place to work, as these activities are stimulating

2.       Routine 

  • Just as we maintain for children, adults need daily sleep rituals prior to going to bed to allow us to unwind and mentally prepare for going to sleep.

  • Avoid naps- by taking a nap, you can relieve the desire to sleep 

  • Don’t force yourself to sleep, and don’t lay awake in your bed- you may begin to associate your bed with the anxiety of not being able to sleep.

  • If you're unable to get to sleep within 15 minutes of going to bed, go to another quiet place and lie down until you feel ready to fall asleep, and then return to your bedroom to sleep.

  • Give yourself enough time to get the hours that you need. Any number of things quickly cut into our sleep time if we allow them to.

  • Schedule your sleep time and stick to that schedule, no matter what might come up during the day.

  • Avoid participating in activities other than sleeping, like reading or watching television in bed, so that you don’t associate your bed with wakefulness.

  • Waking up at the same time, even without an alarm clock, or when we stir routinely in the middle of the night may seem like a habit but it is actually due to our sleep timing, circadian rhythms, and sleep cycles.

  • Keep a sleep diary for at least 2 weeks to get to know your sleep. Once you determine your sleep needs, you should do your best to meet those needs every day.

3.       Diet 

  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine 6 hours before bedtime. Caffeine (a stimulant) can be found in unexpected foods like chocolate. Nicotine will disrupt your sleep and contrary to common belief alcohol can actually make your sleep worse. Though it may cause you to become drowsy, alcohol fragments the stages of your sleep and makes it more disrupted.

  • Avoid eating or drinking before bedtime to avoid heartburn/ reflux and going to the toilet, which can be very disruptive to a good night’s sleep, but equally don’t go to bed hungry.

  • Ensure you have the appropriate vitamins:

  • D from sunlight and fatty fish and fish oils, egg yolks, as well as fortified foods like dairy and juice. For helping control our 24-hour circadian rhythms

  • E from many nuts and seeds, as well as spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, wheat germ oil, corn and soybean oils. For the health and function of the brain

  • C from citrus fruits, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, spinach, green and red chilies, strawberries, and kiwi. For reducing risk of sleep disorders

  • B6 from Bananas, carrots, spinach, potatoes, milk, eggs, cheese, fish, and whole grains.For aiding the production of the hormones serotonin and melatonin- important for sleep and mood.

  • B12 from animal protein. For regulating sleep-wake cycles 

4.       Exercise 

  • 30 minutes of high-intensity exercise performed in the early evening does not negatively affect subsequent sleep

  • Staying active and physically fit is an excellent way to ensure a good night’s sleep- even more reason to get involved in our fun classes!

  • Rest is important for those muscles you’ve worked so hard in KCF classes/ PT sessions

So there you have it - everything you need to improve your sleep and become more rested. Why not get a massage, or a gift voucher, from one of our therapists to help you to sleep, especially if you have little ones, or big ones! (It is Mother’s day this month after all). https://www.katecampbellfitness.com/massage

Make sleep your priority! 

Sweet dreams from the team at KCF

HealthKate Campbell