Sleep is one of those things everyone seems to have advice on. Growing up, I remember my mother telling me that eating cheese before bed would give me nightmares. Turns out, it doesn’t. A doctor debunks other myths for us, like whether there is a cure to sleepwalking (there isn’t) and radiation from our cell phones killing us while we dream (nope, not true).
Something else you might not know about sleep: we really need it to stay healthy. “In the long term, sleep is important for the health of our hearts, lowers our blood pressure, reduces our risk of diabetes, and is vital for boosting our immune system.”
May these sleep facts help you work towards a life of feeling less tired all the time, and more okay with eating cheese.
1. Make your bedroom your retreat
Keep your room tidy, cool and dark.
We reckon all sleep issues stem from the days when being sent to your room was a punishment. Flip that; it’s a reward. Keep fresh flowers, a quality mattress, sleep-worthy sheets and your favorite PJs by your bed. Keep your bedside table decluttered.
Add a diffuser spiced with lavender essential oil for extra relaxation. Watch this TEDTalk on sleep. (Post continues after video).
2. Keep a leg out
Keep one — or both — feet outside your blanket.
Some sleep experts say that can help you fall asleep faster and sleep better.
3. Check your bedtime. And your alarm time.
Waking up in the light phase of your sleep cycle will help you feel energised. Use a sleep tracking app like Sleep Time to help you wake at the right time.
Also, a regular sleep schedule will help you rest better, so pick a bedtime and go with it.
Have a pen and a favourite diary by your bed: If you have a racing mind, jot down your thoughts before you sleep.
5. Stop with the pretzels.
Eating too many processed foods will wake you up at night. So will spicy foods, citrus fruits or other foods linked to heartburn.
(Some healthy food inspiration. Post continues after gallery.)
6. The not-so-unusual suspects.
If you’re sleeping fitfully and waking with a sore throat or neck pain, it could be sleep apnea. If you’re waking up tangled in the covers, you could have restless leg syndrome. That’s an issue for your doctor.
7. Get Sweaty
Regular exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins reduce stress. If you have insomnia, exercising in the late afternoon or early evening can help. Or just have more sex.