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5 ways to sleep peacefully

Sleep is fundamental to our health and wellbeing plus a huge part of the human experience, on average we spend 26 years of our lives asleep, and an astounding 7 years trying to get to sleep [1] . With that in mind, maximising the quality of our sleep is key to increasing our productivity, reducing stress and improving our wellbeing. It is integral to function in our day-to-day lives, without sleep we are less likely to perform to the best of our ability.

So, if you’re struggling with insomnia, or feel like you could improve the quality of your sleep then continue reading.

Sleep stages

We often climb into bed without thinking of the different stages that our brain and body cycle through when we are asleep.

Sleep is generally divided into two stages: REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid-eye movement). NREM is further split into three parts: starting to fall asleep, light sleep, and deep sleep. During deep sleep, your breathing slows down, your blood pressure drops, and your energy is renewed. [2]

"REM" is when your eyes move back and forth rapidly during sleep. This type of sleep usually happens about 90 minutes after you fall asleep and the majority of dreaming occurs during REM sleep.

When we sleep, our brains process the events of the day and work to consolidate these memories. But there are many things that can get in the way of a good night's rest. That's why it's so important to have a consistent night-time routine – by doing so, these rituals will signal to your mind and body that it's time to wind down for the day.

Clear the mind

Having a clear mind, without worries or thoughts can be challenging when we are managing busy schedules.

It may be helpful to do a "brain dump" before you crawl into bed. Grabbing a sheet of paper and writing down everything that you need to do tomorrow will help clear your mind and let you relax more easily. Journaling can often be a great way to focus on what is important to you, it helps bring the pieces of your life together so you can create solutions for problems or come up with new ideas.

It makes it easy for you to look back on old entries to remind yourself how far you’ve come and what you’ve already overcome.

Here are some journaling prompts:
  • Gratitude: Name three good things that happened today.
  • Intention: What tasks do you hope to accomplish tomorrow?
  • Vent and let go: Is there a recent negative experience weighing on your mind?
  • What made this experience troubling?
  • What do you need to in order to forgive yourself and let it go?

Mindfulness and meditation

The practice of meditation aims to bring intentional focus and awareness to your thoughts and sensations. It can help improve your mental health, sleep and quality of life.

Meditating for a few minutes before going to bed by focusing on your breath can bring inner calm. There are many apps now that can help guide you through this process if you're not sure how to start.

Try these:
  • Calm
  • Headspace
  • Relax and sleep well

Eliminate electronics:

Anything that is going to stimulate your mind should probably be turned off about an hour before bedtime so your brain has time to shut down and unwind.

Sure, it sounds a little old-fashioned, but there's no denying the fact that electronics have become an increasingly large part of our lives — even when we're trying to sleep. A study from the National Sleep Foundation showed that 95% of Americans use some form of electronics before bedtime, including cell phones (68%), televisions (62%), computers (51%) and video games (18%).[3]

When it's dark, your brain produces a hormone called melatonin that helps you to relax and fall asleep. But when you are exposed to light at night, your brain suppresses melatonin production. The blue light emitted by smartphones and tablets is especially disruptive.

Studies have shown that exposure to this so-called "blue light" can suppress melatonin for twice as long as other types of artificial light. It may also cause sleep problems by disrupting the body's internal clock.

⁠Turn your phone on flight mode – mobile phones constantly emit electromagnetic radiation (EMR) a major cause of sleep-disruptive anxiety. It has been shown to alter brain activity in the areas that control emotion and mood, so this is an important time for your body to heal, recharge and repair.

Aromatherapy

Diffusing essential oils in your room is one of the easiest ways to naturally relax and promote healthy sleep habits. Just add a few drops of lavender oil to an essential oil diffuser or vaporizer ahead of time so that your room will be filled with a calming scent by the time you crawl into bed.
Here are a few other essential oils that aid with peaceful sleep:
  • Cedarwood
  • Neroli
  • Roman Chamomile

Taking collagen supplements

The single most dominant amino acid in collagen is glycine. Glycine is not only an amino acid but also a neurotransmitter. That means it has the ability to both stimulate the brain and nervous system or quiet it.[4] By taking

collagen supplements before bed will boost your glycine levels to help aid restful sleep.

Glycine has been proven to:

  • Help with falling asleep

  • Improves your sleep efficiency

  • Reduces instances of insomnia

  • Encourages deeper sleep

 The key takeaway here is that routine is everything, setting up a routine is critical to help prepare you for sleep, which will help you eventually fall asleep faster. With these 5 simple steps, you’ll be on your way to a better rest while keeping these poor habits in check.