Ah … sleep. It’s something that I look forward to after a long day. I just love to nestle under my duvet and be completely engulfed by my warm, cosy bed. And there’s nothing better than waking up the next morning refreshed and ready to start the day.
Getting a good night’s sleep and waking up early have so many fantastic benefits for both your mind and body. Your body will be fully rested and prepared for a full day ahead. Also, you’ll have more you time in the morning where you can be mindful and present and do something that you enjoy.
Here is what has worked for me to get a better sleep and wake up earlier:
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Make sure you get plenty of (good) fat, carbs, protein, fruit and veg. If you’re vegan you should be taking a vitamin B12 supplement since plant-based foods don’t naturally contain B12. Taking this each morning will reduce tiredness and fatigue throughout the day. If you want a list of foods which contain lots of vitamins and minerals, check it out here.
Turn off technology at least an hour before you plan to go to bed. The blue light from your laptop, tablet, phone and other electronic devices reduces the production of melatonin – the hormone responsible for your sleep-wake cycle. Having a reduced amount of melatonin will make it harder for you to fall and stay asleep. Instead of relying on technology to entertain yourself in the evening, why not read a book, meditate, drink a nice, hot cup of cocoa or chat with your partner?
Eat foods that help you sleep. Almonds and bananas are rich in magnesium, which is needed for good sleep. Pineapples, bananas and walnuts contain tryptophan – this helps produce serotonin (this boosts your mood and promotes healthy sleeping patterns) and melatonin, which will ensure that you have a revitalizing sleep.
Avoid caffeinated tea or coffee in the afternoon. The effects of caffeine can last from 8 to 14 hours, so could make you feel restless when you’re trying to sleep. If you can’t live without a hot drink why not give fruity or herbal teas a go?
I like to have a hot cup of cocoa an hour or so before I go to bed to help me unwind. It’s effects are even better when you’re wrapped up in a blanket and snuggled up in a cosy place in your home!
Avoid intensive exercise in the evening. This will make you feel more awake so you’ll end up struggling to fall asleep. Instead, try out some relaxing yoga poses to help you de-stress and loosen up before bed.
If you often struggle to fall asleep, try lightly spray your pillows and duvet with a lavender linen spray. Lavender is known for calming an active mind, and helping you unwind and relax, which will make it easier for you to fall asleep.
Know how much sleep you need each night in order to feel awake, energetic and motivated the following day. For adults, this is typically 7 to 9 hours. Once you know this, you can figure out the time you should go to bed to get your required amount of sleep before you have to wake up. This also means that you’ll know how to alter your bedtime to accommodate for an earlier start.
The best advice to wake up early is to go to bed early. However, you’re not going to become an early bird from a night owl overnight. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier each morning. This also means that your bedtime should go back 15 minutes each night too. Keep going back 15 minutes each day (or every few days) until you’ve reached your desired waking up time. Waking up early is a habit you need to build, so keep at it and soon you’ll be able to enjoy those early morning starts.