10 Steps For A Good Night Sleep

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10 Steps to a good nights sleep

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1. KEEP WORK OUT THE BEDROOM

While at uni I had my work desk beside the bed during exam time. So when I got into bed at night I would see the desk and go into work mode. This does not lead to a good sleep.

2. BUY NEW PILLOWS

New pillows are just the best thing. Laying your head down on a brand new pillow is so comfortable you can't help but drift off!

3. SET A BED TIME

What do you have to gain by sitting on Facebook or watching one more episode of a show on Netflix? Have a clear going to bed and getting up time which gives you plenty of time to relax and fall asleep. I currently go to bed at 9-9.30pm read for a while and get up for 6 am. I get 7.5 hours of sleep and feel awesome. Which I did not think would be possible at 6 am! At the weekends, the only difference is I aim for an extra sleep cycle, so I wake up at 7.30. Some might think this is the height of boring, which I understand but if you do have trouble sleeping. Trust me, it's worth it.

4. NO SCREENS TWO HOURS BEFORE BED

The back lights from electronic devices suppress melatonin. This is the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. This means your body won't progress from light sleep to deep sleep and you'll have a disturbed sleep. This has been widely discussed but it is still important. You need to start doing it!

5. EAT A SMALL SNACK

I've found that if I eat something small before bed I wake up more refreshed. Ideally, you want something with fat and protein so it releases energy slower. Personally, I like a slice or two of peanut butter on toast.

6. HAVE A SMALL GLASS OF WATER

Drinking water makes you feel refreshed which causes you to relax. Once you're relaxed you can fall asleep! But don't drink too much or you'll be up all night peeing!

7. HAVE YOUR BED MADE AND READY

Having a nicely made bed makes getting into it way more satisfying. You can look at your bed and think “Yeah that looks comfy as anything! I can definitely sleep in there!” If it's a hodge podge of untucked sheet and duvet folded up at the bottom you will not feel inclined to jump in.

8. CLEAR YOUR MIND INTO A NOTEBOOK

Keep a notebook by the bed so if you get stuck thinking about something right it all down. Once it's down it's out of your head.

9. FOLLOW YOUR SLEEP CYCLE

Your sleep cycle is typically 90 minutes so 7.5 hours of sleep is the ideal. So do some self-observation and find out how long it takes you to fall asleep. Even if it takes you an hour set your alarm for 7.5+time to fall asleep. This way you wake up feeling ready for the day. Try an app that monitors your sleep cycle to find out what yours is. You feel groggy if you wake up mid sleep cycle so you want to wake up at the end.

10. IMAGINE YOURSELF ASLEEP

If you your mind wanders catch it and go “ah now I wouldn't be thinking while I sleep!” and start thinking about your breath. Slow your breathing down to it's sleeping rhythm and fully embrace your sleeping side. Let it overwhelm you until you wake up in the morning fully refreshed and ready to go.

Got any sleeping tips? I'd love to hear them on my Facebook page! 

Why You Too Should Stay Hydrated

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The two weeks are up and the hydration challenge has come to an end!

I would like to say I was triumphant but alas I was not... On two separate occasions, I only drank 1.5 litres before dropping off to sleep. I could blame the fact I'm travelling at the moment but that is just shifting blame so I'll take the responsibility and try harder next time. I found a cool infographic at Aquazania.com detailing why you need water and a few tips as well! The only thing to be aware of is it says you need 3.7 litres of water not 2 but the company is based in South Africa so I feel this is slightly biassed towards much hotter countries.

Water-Infographics

I'm still very pleased as I managed to set up a few good systems for implementing water drinking into my everyday routine so I will definitely be carrying on this habit as predicted in the initial challenge. There were a few different things that worked for me in setting my water routine.

 
 
  1. Having a dedicated bottle and knowing exactly how much is in it. For me it was a half litre plastic bottle though in the future I'm going to buy a proper durable plastic bottle to keep with me.
  2. Always starting the day with a drink of water. First thing when I wake up I have a drink of water, I haven't had any in 8 hours so I'm probably needing a top up right?
  3. Always have at least half a litre of water to hand. I carried my bottle everywhere with me so I could always have a drink when I needed one.
  4. Finally, I didn't count small glasses or drinks from fountains, that way even if your under by the end of the day you will likely be a lot closer than you think.

As soon as this challenge started I quickly realised that this challenge was not going to be as easy as I thought, some days I reckon I would only have drank a litre or less had I not been making the effort. So I begun to feel a lot of great benefits (aside from not being thirsty of course) But two of them stuck out the most for me:

Sleeping

On the days where I drank plenty of water I found I drifted off to sleep much faster than normal. I could get into bed read for a little while then fall asleep in 10-15 minutes. It's awesome! I often take 30-60 minutes of tossing and turning and thought patterns running wild but I found myself just drifting off damn near straight away. This is most likely because your brain is 85% water so being hydrated before bed means your brain can work properly to sort all your thoughts out and allow you to calm out all your worries and go to sleep. Something I will definitely bear in mind if I find myself tossing and turning! Do any of you guys find you sleep better when hydrated?

Mindfulness

Drinking water is a great way to stay in the moment.I would be doing all my day to day activities brain doing it's thing, chattering away to itself but at least once an hour I would have to come back into the moment to ask my self if I was thirsty and when I last had a drink. This would take me in to the present where I could get some water have a drink re energise my brain and carry on into the next task at hand.

This took me by surprise but I loved it, it's such an easy way to ground yourself and have a quick check in with yourself. You cant take on the world unless your on top of your game, and to be at the top of your game you need to be able to stop, self heck and tune up, i.e. get some food, some water, whatever your body is craving.

All in all I'd call the challenge a success. I didn't manage to meet my target but I am not much more aware of my water intake, how it affects me and the routine that works for me. Going forwards I should be able to carry on no problems at all.

For the next two weeks I am going to draw a mandala every day. A lot of people use these as a form of meditation or mindfulness so I'm excited to give it a try.

Mandala A Day

This is a mandala for those of you who don't know and I'm using the site Art is Fun for a guide on how to draw them if anyone is going to join me!. Now I have drawn a few of these in the past but never very regularly so there's a few things I'm hoping to come from this.

  1. I'm interested to see how I improve with doing something I'm relatively new to everyday.
  2. I'm curious to see to see how I feel after, am I calmed, annoyed I cant do it, maybe try before bed to see if it helps me sleep?
  3. I'm hoping to have a lot of fun!

I'll be posting picture on my Twitter for anyone who wants updates mid challenge so give me a follow to keep up yourself and tweet at me to let me know if you guys draw any yourselves!

🙂