How to naturally sleep better
High quality sleep is essential to your health
A good night’s sleep has host of health benefits. Not only does it recharge your body and mind, it also boosts your immune system, keeps your heart healthy, controls appetite and weight, and improves attention and memory.
Yet up to four in 10 Australian adults aren’t getting enough high-quality sleep. Dr Aliza Werner-Seidler, Associate Professor at nib foundation partner, The Black Dog Institute, shares her top sleeping tips.
Establish a sleep routine
“This is one of the most important components of getting a good night's sleep,” says Aliza. “A regular wake and sleep time helps us maintain our sleep drive and synchronises our circadian rhythms. Having a consistent wind-down routine 30 to 60 minutes prior to bedtime can help prepare the body for sleep. Reduce light exposure and activities that are mentally or physically stimulating and try to engage in activities that bring comfort such as having a warm bath or putting on comfortable pyjamas. A wake-up routine that involves getting up and moving is also important.”
Circadian rhythms are the regular sleep-wake cycles our body runs off, which repeats every 24 hours or so, which involve regulating processes such as appetite, digestion and hormone release, in addition to sleep and wake cycles.
While some disruptions to your sleep routine are inevitable when you’re working late or travelling, Aliza suggests gradually returning to your desired routine. “Adjusting sleep by no more than 30 to 60 minutes per day will help your body cope with the changes,” she says.
Daily habits that help sleep
In addition to establishing a sleep routine, Aliza recommends the following five sleeping tips:
1. Expose yourself to natural light, especially in the morning
Being outside and getting exposure to natural light helps to decrease melatonin, which is important for alertness and keeps your circadian rhythms in sync, says Aliza.