It’s that time of year again, when the topic of conversation turns to the inevitable: “So what's your New Year’s resolution?”
If the usual promises to move more, eat better and steer clear of alcohol already make you feel like snoozing, consider that a commitment to better sleep itself might be the most effective resolution you could make. After all, being well rested is the bedrock of all the best choices we will ever make and, here at Simba, we don’t believe in focusing on deprivation to achieve motivation.
Instead, we asked our super sleep researchers, including leading psychologist and Simba’s ‘Think Well Sleep Well’ Ambassador Hope Bastine, to devise a series of simple swaps, which will help you begin 2018 feeling refreshed and ready to realise your dreams.
Swap tweets for meets
The last thing you think about at night can influence your dreams. So, meeting loved ones and friends face-to-face and talking before bed can help diffuse pent up emotions that knock on the door of the subconscious. Communication can release oxytocin and vasopressin. These are the bonding or ‘cuddle’ hormones, which help us to feel attached to our partners.
Swap cut flowers for plants
Research by NASA has shown that certain plants can purify the air in our homes, while others' scents are known for their relaxing capabilities. Some well-researched suggestions include: Aloe Vera; Snake plant and English Ivy.
Swap air freshener for aromatherapy
Inhaling serene scents is a great way to ensure a restful and relaxing night’s sleep. Evidence suggests certain aromas may reduce blood pressure and heart rate, creating a calming effect in the body. Diffuse sedating scents such as lavender, jasmine around your bedroom.
Swap polyester for pure fabrics
The right bedding and pjs are key to managing optimum temperature and air circulation for good sleep. Choose natural fabrics such as cotton, bamboo, silk, and satin because they absorb excess moisture, thus regulating body temperature.
Swap Instagram for instant peace
Meditation is one of the quickest ways of finding inner peace and quiet. The one-pointed-focus helps to quieten the blizzard of thoughts that crowd the mind from those precious ZZZs. You can listen to one here,called ‘Melt Into Sleep’.
There are plenty of other free resources available online or in app stores. We particularly recommende Buddhify or Insight Timer for meditation. You can find Hope Bastine on there, just look up by teacher name.
Swap Thai curry for Tryptophan
Try to swap that curry you love so much for something sleep-inducing. Your body is a lot more sensitive than it used to be and it could irritate your stomach and cause heartburn. Instead opt for food containing that wonderful, sleep promoting amino acid: Tryptophan. High tryptophan foods include nuts, tofu, red meat, chicken, turkey, fish (mackerel is especially good), oats, beans, lentils, and eggs.
Swap red for grey
Bedroom décor is key to promoting a good night’s rest. Research shows that reds and yellows increase anxiety compared to blues and greens. In general, softer, muted colours like grey, pink and purples are neutral and promote tranquility.
Swap blue light for inner light
Scientists have found that the light (known as “short-wavelength-enriched”) from devices such as smart phones has a higher concentration of blue light than even natural light. This blue light affects our levels of melatonin more than any other wavelength making it incredibly disruptive to sleep. Instead, practice yoga before bed. It promotes natural breathing rhythms and calms the central nervous system, which help induce sleep.
Swap alcohol for almond smoothies
Drinking alcohol too close to bedtime disrupts sleep, which is divided into various levels, from REM (Rapid Eye Movement) down to deep sleep. Alcohol tends to send you straight into deep sleep, bypassing REM which a critical stage in resetting the brain after a busy day. Occasionally swap a glass of red for an almond-based smoothie, containing lots of tryptophan and notice the difference.