health

The 6 reasons you're not getting enough sleep at night.

Learn this list by heart – and your body will thank you.

We all know how important a good night’s sleep is to our overall health and wellbeing.

A sound snooze will give you more energy, boost productivity, improve heart and immune system health, put you in a better mood and may even help you live a longer life.

But most of us are guilty of a few bad habits, which means we’re not making the most out of our nightly shut eye (late night Instagram session, anyone?).

The Sleep Health Foundation has found that a great number of Australians are averaging six to seven hours of sleep a night, with a large percentage getting even less.

And according to the Foundation, that’s having a ‘mammoth impact’ on our health, safety and relationships.

“The Sleep Health Foundation has found that a great number of Australians are averaging six to seven hours of sleep a night, with a large percentage getting even less.”

So we’ve rounded up six of the best (and easiest) ways to make your recommended eight hours of sleep work harder each and every night.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this is an advertorial for Clinique.

1. Stick to a schedule.

Stick to the same bedtime and wakeup time every day, even on the weekends. Yes, unfortunately this could mean sacrificing your weekend sleep-in, but it will regulate your internal body clock, helping you to get the right amount of sleep each night.

2. Avoid screens one hour before sleep.

Yep, that means your phone, laptop, tablet and TV are out. Sorry. UCLA School of Medicine’s clinical professor of psychiatry, Dr Dan Siegel, says checking your technology just before bedtime will seriously affect your sleep, which then has a flow-on effect on other health issues.

When we stare at our screens before bed we’re actually soaking up a “stream of photons” – which tells our brains to stay awake.

This process also prevents the brain from secreting melatonin which allows it to “switch off”, which might be why you find yourself tossing and turning for a while before actually falling asleep.

“When we stare at our screens before bed we’re actually soaking up a “stream of photons” – which tells our brains to stay awake.”

3. Get naked.

There are many surprising health benefits to sleeping naked. According to
naturopath and author Natasha Turner, being too warm at night disrupts the natural release of melatonin and growth hormones. Sleeping naked allows your body to regulate its temperature naturally.

“As your body temperature drops, growth hormone is released and works its regenerative magic,” Turner says. And it’s that anti-aging hormone that keeps you skin and hair looking fab.

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“Sleeping naked allows your body to regulate its temperature naturally.”

4. Use a good night cream.

There could be some truth to the concept of ‘beauty sleep’. Your skin does go though changes at night while you sleep. At night, your skin switches into rest and repair mode in line with your ‘biorhythms and sleep patterns’. Using a high quality night cream will support your skin, boosting the maintenance of a healthy complexion.

Applying a product like Clinique’s new Repairwear Sculpting Night Cream, which is infused with advanced Collagen Web Technology, before you nod off will maximise this reparative window of time. And you’ll wake up with softer, smoother and healthier looking skin. Win.

Clinique’s new Repairwear Sculpting Night Cream.

5. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants.

As any coffee lover can attest, that hot cup of magic can keep you awake and powering all day long. Which is clearly NOT what you want when it comes to bedtime. It’s best to avoid caffeine (found in coffee, tea, chocolate, some soft drinks and some pain relievers) for four to six hours before you hit the hay.

The Sleep Medicine Division at Harvard University also says that alcohol consumption should be avoided within three hours of bedtime. While a few glasses of vino feels like it could knock your lights out, after a few hours, alcohol acts as a stimulant, which decreases your quality of sleep.

6. Exercise, but at the right time.

Introducing regular exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality, but avoid working out too close to your bedtime. According to the fine people at Prevention, 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise keeps your body temperature elevated for up to four hours, hindering sound sleep during that time.

What are your sleeping patterns like?

Click through to see what your sleeping position says about you. 

Want more? Try these:

The time you should go to bed to get ‘enough’ sleep may surprise you.

The best parenting lesson I ever learnt (about sleep).

‘My husband and I love each other. We just can’t share a bed.’

We believe great skin can be created at any age. Soon, you will too.

Clinique began in 1968 in the office of an acclaimed New York dermatologist. The safe, gentle clinical treatments he formulated for his patients became the heart of Clinique skin care. Decades of innovation later, generations of glowing skin prove that Clinique has the power to change skin’s future.

Now there’s a custom serum smart enough to understand your skin’s particular needs.

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