In our busy lives, quality sleep has become a luxury. But while getting 8 hours a night has become the holy grail, getting the right kind of sleep is often even harder. Practising clean sleeping is one of the most effective ways to work towards getting both. Sleep coach and expert, Cheryl Fingleson shares her 8 tips to having maximising your night’s sleep.
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Gwyneth Paltrow kicked off the whole clean sleep craze in 2016, when she explained how she made getting good quality sleep every night a priority, even before her famously clean diet.
‘Call it vanity, call it health, but I know there’s a huge correlation between how I feel and what I look like when I roll out of bed in the morning,’ she explained.
Certainly sleep affects everything: metabolism, memory, cognitive function, mood and physical well being. Sleep regulates hormones, helps us learn and remember and even build muscles.
Too much time screen time, busy schedules, late night exercising and eating – all of this plays havoc with our body’s natural circadian rhythms and production of melatonin. The result can be disturbed sleep patterns and that horrible feeling when you wake up and feel as though you’ve barely had any rest.
Clean sleep takes things back to basics. Just like clean eating revolves around consuming good quality, wholesome, unprocessed food; clean sleeping is about prioritising quality sleep for our health.
Clean sleep isn’t just about what happens after you’ve snuggled up under your doona and closed your eyes. What really ensures clean sleep is what we all do in the hours leading up to that vital shut-eye time.
1. Stick to a clean sleep routine
Get up at the same time every day, eat breakfast every day and within thirty minutes of getting up.
2. Minimise stimulants in your diet
Limit your intake of caffeine and refined sugars. Make water your main source of hydration and avoid fake drinks with colourants, stimulants and other chemicals.
Exercise regularly to reset your circadian rhythm and ensure you have some time out in natural daylight every day.
4. Practise clean viewing and have an electronic sunset.
After that time – ideally two hours before bed – don’t look at any screens, big or small. And never double screen – watching television while also using a phone or tablet. Instead, pick up a book and read to help switch off your brain before bed.
5. Don’t eat too much or too little in the hours before you go to sleep.
Some of the best sleep promoting foods include almonds or nut butter, poultry, fatty fish, oats, milk and baked sweet potatoes. If you follow a keto or paleo diet and struggle with sleep, some people recommend having a teaspoon of honey before bed.
6. Make the time before sleep a sacred ritual.
Don’t rush, take it slow and easy. Have a warm (but not hot) bath with oils or a shower to help you relax. Try meditation or self-massage.
7. Have an inviting bed.
Polyester and poly-cotton sheets are out, organic natural cottons in soothing whites, soft greys or pastels are in. Some clean sleepers, including Gwyneth, swear by copper pillowcases but silk ones can be more helpful in the (usually) warm Aussie climate. 100% natural latex mattresses are a great idea for the allergy prone as they’re resistant to dust mites and moulds.
8. Detox your sleep space.
Make your whole bedroom a place of calm with neutral colouring and low lighting. Tidy it and put away clutter well before bedtime so there’s nothing to distract you. Make sure it’s not too hot or too cold – around 18 degrees is perfect.
9. Don’t stress.
Not everyone can practise clean sleeping every night. Aim to achieve it around 75% of the time. You’ll know when you’re getting your body’s optimum amount of sleep when you get into a rhythm where you go to sleep and wake naturally.
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