With winter's arrival, the temptation to stay snug in bed under a cosy blanket is at an all-time high. With sleep so essential to health and well-being, this change in season is the perfect time to reflect on our routines, or how we spend time, around sleep.
The time before bed, and when we wake up in the morning, is precious as it offers breathing space from the outside world. Giving consideration to our morning and evening routines can improve our productivity in the morning and set the tone for the day ahead, as well as help us unwind and improve the quality of our sleep in the evening.
There is no one-size fits all when it comes to a morning or evening routine - we all have different responsibilities, which impacts on how we need to spend our time. When creating a morning or evening routine, consider habits that will positively help you, yet still be totally workable within your lifestyle - sustainability is always key. Here’s some ideas to try:
Wake up at a regular time. A good night’s rest begins the moment you wake. Rising at a consistent time helps reinforce the body's sleep-wake cycle, making it easier to get-up and get-going, as well as drift off in the evening. Try purposely waking a little earlier than usual to create some space to organise yourself for the day ahead - this can help leave you feeling calmer into the morning.
Hit the pavement. Staying in bed in the morning as long as possible during winter, while repeatedly hitting the snooze-button, is oh-so tempting, but come evening we may often be tired from the day and can’t bring ourselves to exercise.
There are few things more transformative to our body and health than exercise - it boosts mood and self-confidence, improves sleep and reduces the risk of disease. Try starting the day with movement, whether a morning walk around the block, fitness class at your local gym or even just a stretch in front of the heater to wake up the spine! In particular, exposure to early light when exercising outdoors is a natural and effective way to reset the body's sleep-wake cycle and boost alertness.
Make your bed. There’s nothing like hoping into a freshly made bed in the evening, especially after a long, tiresome day. Spending a few minutes making your bed helps set a productive tone for the morning ahead. Your future self will thank you!
Enjoy a wholesome breakfast. Totally worth waking up early for! Breakfast helps ‘break-the-fast’ from the night before, fuelling our body with energy and nutrients for the morning ahead.
Whenever possible take the time to sit and enjoy this morning meal. Aim to include protein-rich foods, as protein is slow to be digested and will help keep you feeling full into the morning. You could try eggs on grainy toast with avocado, a fruit smoothie with protein powder, muesli and yoghurt, or a creamy bowl of oats topped with nuts, seeds and stewed fruit - the perfect warming bowl for winter!
Take a technology break. The bright blue light emitted from technological devices can impact the release of melatonin, a sleep-impacting hormone (which we want oodles of before bed!). Not only that, the bombardment of information our brain receives when scrolling through our social media feed can be stimulating. Be really mindful of technology use around bedtime and try to keep your phone out of your room - if you’re needing an alarm, consider an old-school alarm clock or keep your phone on airplane mode.
Prepare a comfortable cosy sleep space. A comfortable room encourages a good night’s rest. Aim to make your sleeping space as much of a haven as possible - consider investing in a bed that supports your body, wear comfy PJ’s or even light some candles. Make sure to add a cosy blanket or throw during winter to keep warm and comfortable!
Establish a relaxing wind down routine. It’s easy to take a busy mind and work to bed, however this can make it difficult to switch off and fall asleep. Before bed aim to wind-down not wind-up - try incorporating a little you-time into your evening routine, by doing a relaxing activity to unwind. I love reading a book or some gentle strecthes to work out kinks from the day.
Avoid caffeine. Certain foods and drinks can disrupt our sleep. Coffee, chocolate and certain teas, like green and black, contain a substance called caffeine, which is stimulatory, meaning it makes us feel alert and awake.
Trial avoiding caffeine after midday if your someone who has trouble sleeping - try instead decaf options or herbal tea. My favourite tea before bed is camomile!
Prepare yourself for the next morning. Lay out your work clothes or exercise gear, pack your bag for the next day or organise breakfast. This helps make the next morning a breeze!
Find out more information about the bed I am sleeping on, click here. Big love to Sealy for pairing up with me to create this piece of content! Sleep is paramount for health and well-being and a good night's rest helps us make the most out of our day. I have been adoring my Sealy bed, and find it supportive and exceptionally comfortable - it truly feels like I'm sleeping on a cloud! <3