With endless Christmas parties, 6am F45 sessions and a hectic workload as everything wraps up for the year – what’s a girl (or guy) meant to do to get through? The answer is sleep – and do it properly.
As a Sleep Specialist and Vida Glow’s newest writer, it’s my pleasure to empower you with the information and inside goss so you can feel 100% – even in December. Interested to learn more? Read on sleep deprived friend, this article is for you.
First, when I say ‘sleep properly’, I mean attain deep, quality sleep – signified by you waking up feeling refreshed and raring to go. Not only does this restore our physical energy levels, but physiological processes such as immunity (goodbye pesky office bug), cellular detoxification and muscles too. It aids in lowering stress, with researchers finding the stress hormone cortisol rises 37% after one night of inadequate sleep.
Further, quality sleep boosts happiness hormones dopamine and serotonin, allowing us to feel better naturally. Obviously this is ideal, so here’s my top 4 strategies to get proper sleep each night.
- Set a bedtime alarm, labelling it with the #1 benefit quality sleep will bring to your day tomorrow. Reminding yourself to go to bed is key – too often we become caught on a scroll cycle or pressing play to another Netflix episode. Scientists report the early part of the eve, between 10-2pm, is when rejuvenation is optimised. Setting an alarm and reading our motivation triggers us to follow the sleep plan and actually go to bed.
- Reduce blue light exposure in the evening. iPhone users, you’re probably familiar with ‘Night Mode’, which blocks emissions of sleep-disrupting blue light. Interestingly, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reports that exposure to regular light – not just screens – delays feelings of sleepiness by 90 minutes, for 99% of those tested (aka, everyone). TVs, laptops, household and street lights are all sources of blue light. A really simple solution is to get a pair of blue light blocking glasses and wear them throughout the eve. Remember, this means you’re likely you get into deeper sleep faster, thus reducing exhaustion the next day.
- Take a perfectly timed afternoon nap. Embrace energy slumps like a European and have a short siesta. Science reveals positive impacts upon concentration, mood and fatigue, after allowing yourself a 20-30 minute slumber (don’t forget to set a timer). This timeframe is best as it prevents uber deep sleep, which is why sometimes you wake from a nap feeling more tired than before. By learning to take a nap when you are tired, you’re less likely to use sugar and caffeine too.
- Be mindful at the Christmas party. No, I don’t mean to start a group meditation session in the middle of the event, however, that would be interesting to see (and I’d probably join in). Realise that alcohol, sugar, gluten and dairy all play havoc on your sleep, so being conscious of your intake of these compounds is important to getting that quality sleep you want – plus avoiding a hangover. My favourite strategies? Go there to socialise, not get drunk. Drink water to stay hydrated and avoid excessive alcohol top up’s. Choose fresh canapé options such as sashimi, oysters and veggie sticks with avocado over fried pastries or Christmas cakes.
Setting an alarm, reducing blue light, taking naps and being mindful at your Christmas party – sounds simple, and thankfully, it is. The beauty of sleep is that when we learn to do it properly, we feel amazing. And with these evidence based solutions, it’s backed by science – and a skill for life. So what are you waiting for – go and set your bedtime alarm now and know you’re on the right path to your sweetest slumber yet.
Written by Olivia Arezzolo
Olivia is a Sleep Specialist & Model (Bachelor of Social Science – Psychology; Certificate Sleep Psychology; Diploma of Health Science – Nutritional Medicine; Certificate 3+4 Fitness). As founder of corporate wellness program The Sleep Solution, her clients experience three key outcomes: improved sleep, reduced stress and enhanced productivity.