A good night’s rest

Most of us know that we need more sleep, but how can we get it? Follow these tips to get all the shut-eye you need

SleepNight vigils and sleep deprivation are common symptoms of modern working life. Our culture seems to glorify functioning on less sleep and sacrificing rest. However, research confirms that cutting down sleep will seriously harm you, and impair your decision -making, your immunity, productivity and mood.

• Shut down everything at least an hour before bed – Screen time will keep you awake due to the stimulating effect of the blue light from your phone, TV or laptop. Keep technology out of your bedroom to promote healthy sleep.
• Relaxation exercises – Deep breaths and slow exhalation open up lungs and increase oxygen flow, forcing you to slow down and de-stress.
• Drink herbal teas Chamomile tea, valerian tea, hops, lemon balm and other soothing herbal teas promote sleepiness.
• Use candles and lavender essential oils to promote a relaxing and sleep-inducing ambience.
• Listen to relaxing music such as beach waves, birds and tropical forest sounds.
• Darken your room – Melatonin production is essential for restful sleep. Use blackout lining on your curtains. As a quick fix, use the eye mask from your KQ flight to block out light as you sleep.
• Exercise – Preferably in the morning, even for just 5-10 minutes. This will get your blood pumping and result in more daytime energy while promoting good rest at night due to the physical fatigue.
• Take a hot bath or shower before bed – The hot water will raise your body temperature, which then drops, prompting your body to fall asleep.

• Eat too late – a heavy dinner late at night will impair your sleep because digestion requires your body to expend energy.
• Drink caffeinated drinks after midday.
• Drink water too late in the evening – waking up to go to the bathroom is not fun.
• Try to be a hero – Delegate wherever you can, and prioritise your rest. Ask your spouse to pitch in, hire help and ditch perfectionism. If you are a new parent, get help so you can nap.
• Be a yes person – Say NO to extraneous non-essential activities that will drain you.
• Overeat. Sometimes our bodies signal that we are hungry when really what we need is sleep. Check your real reasons for reaching out for that extra doughnut, and take a power nap instead.
• Overdress at night – to help you sleep, keep the room and your bedding slightly cool.
• Take your vitamins at night – these can energise you and keep you up.
• Drink alcohol at night – alcohol is a stimulant and can also impair sleep.

Top tip
Chronic sleep deprivation can have underlying medical reasons, including insomnia, ADD, depression or anxiety. Seek medical advice to rule out this possibility.