Sleep like a baby

Sleep is a big part of our lives. It gives our body and mind time to recover and process what has happened throughout the day. We all need sleep - some a bit less than others. The quality of the sleep has a much bigger effect on your energy levels than the actual quantity. Of course you can't survive on 3 hours daily but 8 hours of bad quality sleep won't do the trick either. In November last year I attended a sleep workshop hosted by Eat Train Love and Kitchen by Food Rebel in Singapore and it helped me so much to improve and deepen my sleep. Therefore let me show you some tips and tricks how you can sleep like a baby again.

Understand Sleep Cycles

To understand your sleep cycle, helps you to plan your sleeping hours. We usually hear about those 8 hours sleep everyone should aim for daily. But also with shorter rest time you can wake up energized and ready to conquer the day - it all depends on your sleep cycle.

There are two main types of sleep:

  • REM = Rapid Eye Movement Sleep
  • NREM = Non Rapid Eye Movement Sleep
    • Stage 1 = 10 minutes, muscle twitching
    • Stage 2 = 10-20 minutes
    • Stage 3 = deep sleep

Source: http://www.howsleepworks.com/types_cycles.html, Image from Lukas Mastin

As you can see in the diagram above, we go through several sleep cycles during the night. The stage 3 sleep is the deepest sleep where we completely shut down from the environment. If someone or something wakes us up during this time, we will wake up quite groggy and exhausted. The REM phase on the other hand is lighter. It's the time during which dreams occur. This is why we often wake up dreaming (longest REM phase). These sleep cycle usually last between 100 to 120 minutes and it makes sense to wake up during one of your REM phases. For further and more detail information please visit howsleepworks.

 

Bed time routine

A bed time routine will signal your body "it's time to sleep".  Remember when you were a kid and your parents prepared you for going to bed? Usually that was around one hour before you actually closed your eyes. Maybe you got read a good night story or you listened to some fairy tales. This all was part of your sleeping routine. Find a ritual that works for you and which you can repeat daily.

 

  • Make yourself some calming tea such as camomile or lavender
  • Moisture your feet/body/hands with some coconut oil
  • Mist your pillow with lavender spray to calm your senses
  • Meditate for 10 minutes to clear your brain
  • Take a shower or a hot bath
  • Listen to calming songs

Once you have your bed time routine going, your body will switch to sleep mode the moment you smell that camomile tea or the moment you step out of the shower.

 

Bedroom

Your bedroom plays a crucial role in your sleep quality, so make sure it is a room where you body and mind can switch off.

  • No televisions, game consoles, video players, computers
  • No phones - put the charger outside your bedroom
  • No lights turned on during the night
  • I would love to say No AC but living in Singapore it's just not possible

But not only electricity is influencing your sleep, also your mattress and your bed sheets will have an effect. Make sure your mattress is not too old. Usually after 7-10 years you should get a new one. Change your bed sheets at least every second week and make sure to hoover under your bed once in a while.

 

Waking up

Waking up energized is a feeling everyone wants to achieve. Whilst the sleep quality has a big impact on this, the way you wake up should not be underrated either.

Not by accident people say "did you get up on the wrong side of the bed today?" if someone's in a bad mood. So make sure you choose the right side.

 

  • Stretch your whole body together with some deep in- and exhalations. This let's the blood flow to all areas and wake your body up.
  • Tell yourself a good morning and start with a smile on your face
  • Take a refreshing shower (careful, if this is part of your bed time routine, you shouldn't shower in the morning)
  • Prepare an energizing tea such as ginger with lemon
  • Start your day with an energizing breakfast (how about some Amaranth porridge)

I hope this helps you to get a good nights sleep. If you have any other tips or routines for a better sleep, please share them with us in the comments.

Dominique