Deputy CEO, The Sleep Charity
Self-care is important for a healthier, happier life. In difficult times, it’s easy to neglect our physical and mental health but we must make it a priority.
When we talk self-care, we talk about the actions you can take to develop, protect, maintain and improve health and wellbeing. Our daily lives can play a big impact on our overall wellbeing both positively and negatively.
The best self-care starts with sleep
Self-care can include lots of different things from taking a walk and eating well to spending time with family and friends and even investing in some ‘me time’. But the best self-care routine starts with getting good quality sleep, which is fundamental to our wellbeing.
In difficult times, it’s extremely important to safeguard your sleep. It has been scientifically proven to improve almost every area of our lives – from how you feel, look, behave and perform. When routines are disrupted it can affect how well we sleep.
How to safeguard your sleep
Our sleep isn’t always the same and certainly isn’t always ‘perfect’, depending on what’s going on with our lives and how well we look after ourselves. It’s not uncommon to have an odd night of unrest but it’s important this doesn’t become a regular occurrence.
In difficult times, it’s extremely important to safeguard your sleep. It has been scientifically proven to improve almost every areas of our lives.
Making changes to daily lifestyle
Start by having a good morning routine. Try to wake up at a similar time and avoid lengthy lie-ins to strengthen the body clock and where possible, expose yourself to natural light in the morning to suppress melatonin and boost alertness.
Consider what you do during the day that may impact on sleep. For instance, if you are sensitive to caffeine, avoid it eight hours before bed so it doesn’t interfere with getting off to sleep. Exercise is great for sleep and for mental health but try to do it earlier in the day.
Assess your bedroom environment and make sure it’s fit for purpose. You will sleep a lot better if your bedroom is cool, quiet, dark, clutter free and has a super comfy bed to get into! Don’t work from the comfort of your bed though – it should only be used for sleeping and sex.
When it comes to a pre-bedtime routine, you need to look at ways to relax and de-stress. Some people like to read or have a warm bath, others may prefer to practice mindfulness or meditation. Whatever you decide, switch off your phone and ideally keep it out of the bedroom so you’re not tempted to check it one last time.