We were listening to a great podcast the other day with the longevity guru Dan Buettner on some key tips for living a long and healthy life.
It won’t surprise you that you’ll know all of them already: eat well, exercise well, socialise and sleep.
But if you’re anything like us, knowledge and practise are two very different things – so we thought we’d spend some of the next couple of week’s posts spending a bit of time on some of these to help you along if you are struggling with any of them.
Today’s topic – sleep.
There are obvious anomalies here (Winston Churchill) and exaggerators (your tyrant boss who says he/she can survive perfectly well of 2.5 hours of sleep a night), but on average we need a lot more sleep than we think and society tells us we need – between 7 and 9 hours to be precise.
In fact, according sleep specialist Matthew Walker who wrote the fantastic Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams: “The number of people who can survive on six hours of sleep or less without measurable impairment, rounded to a whole number and expressed as a per cent, is zero.”
It is very fashionable to speak about CBD being a solution to sleep problems - you'll know where we come down on this - but what are the fundamental building blogs to ensure you are getting enough good quality sleep hours in? Here a couple of tips we compiled from research from the National Sleep Foundation to help:
- Wind down – we all know that having a bottle of wine and watching 6 back-to-back episodes of Game of Thrones in bed is not a recipe of restful night. But we persist. Put away the TV your laptop or phone at least 1.5 hours before you go to bed, eat early (at least 2-4 hours before turning in) and keep away from anti-sleep stimulants like wine and cigarettes.
- Bed time ritual – try to get into the habit of going to bedtime at the same time by following a similar process. Have a long bath with some lavender oils. Maybe do a mediation.
- Exercise – lots of us are mental drained when we get back from work but physically wide awake after sitting for hours stationary at a desk – our only exercise bashing away at a keyboard. Try to do some exercise each day (obviously not just before you go to bed). Vigorous exercise is best – but something is better than nothing! We just need to move more and build upward from this.
- Evaluate your bed room sleep friendliness - this we don’t necessarily mean your bed has to be placed at an exact 33.5 degree angle to you bedroom door. But it does mean removing things like computers and TVs from your room, have a think over whether your pillows and mattress are genuinely helping you sleep, whether you are too hot (optimum sleeping conditions are meant to be between 60 and 67 degrees), and reserve your bed for sleep and sex only.
- If you can’t sleep - don’t play on your phone. Go into another room, do some stretches and do something you find relaxing which doesn’t involve a screen!
Want to learn more about sleep? Check out the National Sleep Foundation Website: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/ and some interesting stats from the UK Sleep Council https://sleepcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/The-Great-British-Bedtime-Report-2017.pdf.