Sleep Manifesto

For most of us, the mechanics of decent sleep are fairly straightforward. With some simple changes in sleep routine, we can vastly improve the quantity and quality of sleep we get (those clients who have serious sleep disturbances should be directed to a specialist). Use this sleep manifesto as the basis of supporting good sleep habits in your clients’ lives.

Don’t eat before bed

Your last meal should be no less than two hours before bedtime. Eating too close to sleep can cause the digestive system to be active while you’re trying to drop off, disturbing the body’s ability to shut down. A particularly heavy, spicy, or fatty meal can increase this effect.

Manage the sleep environment

The bedroom should be only be used for sleep (and sex); should be tidy, clean, and well aired; be a comfortable temperature; and be dark. Sheets should be high quality, in a natural material and clean, as should any sleepwear. The mattress and pillow should give a pain-free, comfortable surface. Consider calming scents like lavender oil to create a relaxed atmosphere.

Optimise your days

Doing the right things during the day can make a big difference to what happens at night. Make sure you get plenty of exercise and daylight. Limit alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine (especially near bedtime).

Create a routine

Being consistent about your bedtime routine helps provide reliable cues for your body to use to drop off swiftly. Factor in at least 30 minutes to wind down before actually falling asleep – soft music, light stretching, reading, or breathing/meditation are all good options. Decrease light levels at this point and stay away from electronics – blue light from devices cause mental stimulation and can also decrease melatonin production.

Prioritise sleep

It can often feel like sleep is that last thing on your to-do list. But putting it first will improve all aspects of your life, from weight loss to mental health and work productivity. Have a fixed wake up time and a set window for bedtime, making any adjustments gradually to allow your body to acclimatise.