Today is an important date in the Neal's Yard Remedies calendar—it's World Sleep Day! If you're unfamiliar with the occasion, this annual event is a time for us to celebrate—you guessed it—sleep. It also acts as a call to action on important issues relating to sleep, including medicine, education, social aspects and driving. Organized by the World Sleep Day Committee of World Sleep Society, this day aims to lessen the burden on sleep problems on society through better prevention and management of sleep disorders.
Studies show that a good night’s sleep has benefits in just about every area of life—increased productivity and focus, healthier eating and exercise habits, and better relationships. Whether your current goals are to make more time for the people and things you love, finish a project, or get in shape, the quality and quantity of your sleep could make or break your results.
Luckily, a few surprisingly simple steps can make a huge difference. To help you achieve your sleep goals, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Black Sheep Mattress, who are sharing their three best tips for a better night’s sleep.
RESOLVE TO UNPLUG 1 HOUR BEFORE BED
We get it—the almost automatic routine of checking Facebook, replying to emails, or watching a show before bed seems like a relatively harmless way to unwind before bed. However, the use of digital devices at night can have a drastic impact on our capacity to fall and stay asleep. Our devices, apps and games are designed so we become addicted to constantly (and mindlessly) checking them, and doing so excites the brain. This triggers a fight or flight response that wakes us up, rather than lulls us to sleep. And even if the endless content doesn’t keep us scrolling for hours longer than we planned, the physiological excitement of just a few minutes on a device can take 1-3 hours to wear off.
Additionally, the blue light that our devices emit signals ‘daytime’ to our brains. This delays the natural release of melatonin, the sleep hormone that regulates our circadian rhythm. The lack of melatonin prevents us from feeling tired, even when we really need to sleep.
Resolving to shut off your TV, laptop and phone for an hour before bedtime is a simple, effective step in restoring your sleep patterns. Instead, reach for a book (not the electronic kind!) or take a relaxing bath—adding a handful of Lavender Bath Salts to help you relax and unwind before bedtime and leave your skin beautifully fragranced.
RESOLVE TO STOP DRINKING CAFFEINE 8 HOURS BEFORE BED.
While an instant jolt of caffeine is sure to get us revved up during the day, its stimulating effects can last anywhere from 8-14 hours—easily spilling into the evening when our body and mind are meant to wind down in preparation for sleep. Caffeine also disrupts our circadian rhythm. This means that it could still be preventing us from falling asleep, even hours after the caffeine has been metabolized.
Now, we’re not here to suggest you skip your morning latte. But if you’re having trouble winding down at night, it’s a good idea to give yourself an 8-hour buffer between your last shot of espresso and your ideal bedtime. Instead, we recommend sipping on herbal teas and water in the afternoon and evenings.
RESOLVE TO EXERCISE FOR AT LEAST 10 MINUTES PER DAY
We’re not suggesting training for a marathon—but if that’s your goal, all the power to you! Study after study suggests that even simple, moderate exercise done regularly can profoundly improve poor sleeping patterns, and even insomnia. If joining a gym or going for a fairly run seem daunting, it’s okay to think smaller!
Our favourite way to fit in a bit of movement into our busy days? 10-minute yoga or pilates videos online. These gentle, guided and quick workouts can be done in the comfort and privacy of your own home or office, and can be just as effective as more intense athletic activities when it comes to improving sleep. Resolving to do just one short exercise session per day will help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply—night after night.
Don’t know where to start? Try this beginner yoga video:
Many of us will encounter sleep problems at some point in our lives, and yet for the most part, we’ll just brush it off as ‘not sleeping well’. The truth is, sleep affects so many aspects of our lives, and we can all take simple steps towards insuring our sleeps are restful ones. Try implementing these three easy tips into your routine, and we’re sure you’ll be pleased with the results, and be waking up on the bright side of the bed in no time.
Thanks to our friends at Black Sheep Mattress for their valuable insight into how we can all achieve a better night’s sleep. The number one thing for great sleep? Your mattress, of course. Black Sheep’s high standards for material sourcing are what sets them apart from other conventional mattress companies—every material they use is entirely natural, chosen for its quality, durability, and environmental sustainability. You can shop their natural, locally-made mattresses on their website here, or give them a visit in Calgary at 601 Manitou Road SE.
And if you're looking to up your bed game, we have wonderful news—Black Sheep is offering 15% off any pillow with code WSD18, and a free pillow with any mattress purchase with code SLEEPDAY18! Enter the code at checkout online, or mention it in-store to redeem. Their beautiful pillows are made from all natural materials: 100% natural Talalay latex with an organic cotton casing, and are available in a variety of styles and firmnesses.
What are your best tips for having a solid night's sleep? Let us know below!