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TIPS TO TRY WHEN THE SLEEP STRUGGLE IS REAL...

May 12, 2018

Struggling to switch off at night and get a good, deep sleep? It’s crazy how with the increasingly active and hectic lifestyle our society leads today, making the need for adequate sleep even more essential, the opposite actually seems to be happening. The struggle for good shut-eye is real!

Sleep is absolutely fundamental to our health and over wellbeing. Lack of it hugely impacts our bodies and many of the essential functions it needs to perform to keep us alive. Not only does it directly impact our energy levels and mental clarity throughout the day, but research has emerged that poor sleep habits also contributes to longer term issues such as cardiovascular problems, risk of weight gain, high blood pressure and overall mental health. Sleeping is also crucial for supporting muscle recovery, repairing tissues and synthesising hormones.

To function optimally, we need to have between 7-8 hours sleep per night and the hours of sleep we get between 10pm-12am have been proven to be the most refreshing and boosting, making them most important. If this is sounding unfamiliar right now, rest assured, you’re not alone! We’ve rounded up some simple tips and tricks that you can adopt in your daily routines to help you increase your quality of sleep:

 

FOOD

Like with everything related to health, diet and nutrition can have a major impact on sleep. The best advice we recommend keeping in mind when it comes to food and optimising sleep include:

  • Increasing your amount of fibre (e.g. through fruits, vegetables, nuts and pulses)
  • Consuming foods with a high level vitamin B (e.g. fish, chicken, bananas, eggs, milk and whole grains)
  • Including a high quality protein in your dinner
  • Eating foods high in Vitamin C (kiwi fruits are an especially good source of this and have been proven to have a direct impact on helping you fall sleep!)

 

BREATHING

The power of your breath is one not to bypass when it comes to drifting off to sleep. Taking a few simple deep breaths brings calmness and relaxation to both your mind and body, helping you drift off into a peaceful, deep sleep. There are a couple of simple breathing exercises such as lengthened breath (inhaling for a count of 3, and then exhaling for a count of 6). This slow, deep breathing technique resets your autonomic nervous system, tricking your body into a state of relaxation no matter how stressed or over run your mind may feel. Another simple and effective exercise is visualisation breathing. This involves you envisioning the air travelling into your nose and throughout your entire body as you inhale, through all your muscles and to the tips of your fingers and toes, before it comes back out again as you exhale. Repeat all breathing exercises until you gradually feel at a place where you can drift off.

If you are feeling a little more energetic, then gentle stretching or a steady yoga flow can also help you get your body and mind into sleep time mode.

 

MASSAGING YOUR FEET

Reflexology (believed to promote relaxation by massaging different pressure points on your feet) can be a very useful trick when it comes to helping you fall asleep. Once you have completed your bedtime routine, grab some coconut oil or another relaxing oil you like (e.g. lavender or roman chamomile) and one foot at a time, begin rubbing and applying pressure from the top of the foot, working your way slowly down towards the sole. Reverse directions before focusing on your heel, applying heavy pressure and making small circular movements. You can then also massage around the ankles and tops of the feet to get the full experience!

 

CUT THE CAFFEINE AFTER 2PM 

We’ve all heard this advice before, but from experience and from scientific research, we know that this really does make a difference! However much you might be itching to turn to that coffee cup for an afternoon pick-me-up, if you’re lying in bed finding it hard to sleep at night, then we really do recommend avoiding this temptation. Coffee has a half life of 6 hours meaning that it will still be effecting you and reducing your bloods ability to absorb adenosine (a compound which facilitates sleep), 6 hours later. It is therefore highly advised to drink coffee no later than 2pm to help you fall asleep faster and reduce your chances of a disturbed sleep. So next time you reach for that afternoon caffeine boost, try to make it an energy boosting food instead such as nuts, fruits or dark chocolate…you’ll be thanking yourself later!

 

APPS

There are now a vast range of apps available specially designed to help aid a better nights sleep. By simply typing ‘sleep’ into the App Store, you can see a variety of both paid for and free apps. Our favourites are mediation apps such as Calm and Headspace which both help you calm the mind and drift off into a deeper and most restful sleep.

Other types of sleep enhancing apps we are liking at the moment and recommend trying out include Pillow, a sleep tracking alarm clock app that gauges the quality of your sleep throughout the night and compares your sleep cycle data. It also offers additional features for example, audio recordings shown to enhance sleep. Sleep Cycle helps you to track and evaluate your sleep patterns using vibration or sound analysis. It then generates reports to help you visualise your sleep cycles and wake you up at your optimal wake up time to ensure you wake up feeling your freshest! 

Other useful easy sleeping hacks…

  • Revamping your bedding
  • Reading
  • Using essential oils and sleep sprays
  • Avoiding being on your phone (or any technology) for at least 30 minutes before bed
  • Keeping your bedroom cool and dark
  • Establishing a sleep enhancing bedtime routine (we will dedicate a whole blogpost to this soon J!)

And if you want a workout that will be sure to tire you out or a pre-bedtime yoga flow check out our 10 DAY TRIAL and give one a go...here’s to better night sleeps! Zzzzz

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