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Adopting good sleep habits is important for your productivity, sex drive and overall wellbeing. Sleep deprivation has reached epidemic levels around the world, with women being effected more than men. Routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours per night demolishes your immune system and increases your risk of cancer, which is why it’s so important to develop a regular sleep routine and why the industry is set to be worth $31 billion by 2025. Here are five easy ways to instantly improve your sleep hygiene.
For optimum sleep, you should go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This helps to reset your internal clock and promote better sleep. Apple’s Bedtime app is a helpful (and free) way to set and track your sleep cycle. Available as part of your standard clock app, Bedtime allows you to select the days of the week you want your alarm to go off and the exact hours of sleep you’d like to achieve. It will send you a push notification reminder 30 minutes before your bedtime, and another when it’s time head to bed. Samsung S Health and Google Fit perform similar functions for non-iPhone users.
There are several yoga asanas which help clear your mind, and can be conveniently done in bed. Sydney nutritionist and Ashtanga yoga teacher Maya Butti’s favourite pre-bed posture is supta baddha konasana, or reclining butterfly pose. “This pose is a great way to open your hips after a long day of sitting, standing, or both,” says Maya. “It’s deeply relaxing, grounding and lengthens your spine.” Lay on your back with the sole of your feet together, allowing your legs hanging out to either side. Place your left hand over your heart and your right hand on your belly. “Close your eyes and feel the natural rise and fall of your breath,” says Maya. “Three minutes is all you need to settle the breath and mind.”
There are many benefits to coffee, but as a rule stick to caffeine in the earlier part of the day for improved sleep. Similarly, alcohol will help you fall asleep but results in poor quality shut eye. Instead, introduce grounding turmeric milk after dinner to help you wind down after a long day. The Beauty Chef Sleep Inner Beauty Powder is a probiotic, antioxidant-infused golden milk which has been specially crafted to help promote sleep and boost the body’s natural repair functions.
Prepare yourself for sleep by switching your devices to Night Shift. Smartphone screens emit bright blue light. Using your phone at night confuses your brain as it mimics the brightness of the sun, inhibiting your brain from producing melatonin; a hormone that’s linked to sleep. Night shift uses the clock and geolocation of your iOS device to determine when it’s sunset in your location. It automatically shifts the colors of your display to warmer colours, which is easier on your eyes. As you prepare to go to bed turn your phone on aeroplane mode — which suspends calls, texts, Wi-Fi and push notifications — to help you wind down. Ideally, the blanket rule is to completely avoid electronic devices at least an hour before bed.
Maya suggests magnesium in its many forms as an excellent supplement for sleep. “We burn through magnesium when we’re stressed and when we exercise, so many of us can be on the low side,” says Maya. “Magnesium helps relax the central nervous system and is also involved in cellular energy production.” Her favourite varieties are magnesium glycinate and magnesium citrate in powered form as they are well absorbed by the gut. Taking a magnesium salt bath is also an indulgent way to enjoy a deeper, more restful sleep.
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