September 29, 2022

How you can create a good sleep routine

Who doesn’t love a good nightís sleep? We all know how important it is for our overall health and wellbeing Ė it helps us feel better, boosts energy levels and improves concentration.

But in a recent research piece we did at KIC, we found that almost half of women and non-binary Australians said they arenít getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night, and 2 out of 5 females feel like they are not getting enough sleep. And that doesnít sit right with us!

Getting consistent, good quality sleep overnight is essential for our health and wellbeing. So, weíve compiled some simple tips and tricks that can be easily added into your day to improve your sleep routine.

First things first, we need to understand the reasons WHY good sleep and creating a good sleep routine matter.

As healthline explains, when we sleep our bodies have the opportunity to repair cells, restore energy, and release molecules like hormones and proteins.

Sleep also increases our productivity, enabling us to concentrate and think clearly when awake. These day-to-day skills are so important to maximise our potential when learning or working.

Another important reason we need good sleep is to help regulate our emotional well-being. Think about all the stresses, anxieties, pressures and emotions that our 21st century lives bring about. Our mental health is impacted by so many environmental stressors – from the workplace in our professional lives to managing our finances and relationships in our personal life – there are so many things that our brains are juggling.

When we fail to get good sleep, weíre compromising our bodyís ability to help us regulate our emotions which can then negatively impact our behaviour, performance and overall health and wellbeing.

Now that we understand why good sleep is so important, it should be easy to understand why we need to create a good sleep routine!

Having a consistent, high quality sleep routine is so powerful – it will give your mind and body the time to recover, prepare and work its magic to support you through the next day. Plus, sleep will allow your internal body clock to stabilise which once steady means youíll be able to fall asleep and wake up more easily!

Now that we understand why good sleep is so important, what are some of the things we can actually do to support our sleep and help us create our own sleep routine that works for us?

1. Exercise

Although exercise happens outside the hours we wind down for bed, it can actually have a huge impact on the quality of our sleep. It has been found that exercise helps to improve our sleep as it reduces the time it takes us to fall asleep, plus it can often help us feel more energised for our waking hours which then predispositions us for a better and more fulfilling sleep that night. When we prioritise movement, we are helping to prioritise sleep, however, we still want to make sure our capacity and willingness to exercise isnít compromised by lack of sleep! Itís all about finding your balance, listening to your body and choosing movement to suit your mood (KIC has you covered here).

2. Getting a good dose of natural light

Exposing ourselves to daylight is so important to help regulate our circadian rhythm which is our bodyís clock that tells our bodies how to respond and when (e.g. when to itís time to sleep and when itís time to wake up). By exposing ourselves to daylight we are helping to tell our bodies the times at which they should be awake and alert and helps to better align our awake and asleep hours with sunrise and sunset. However, with technology and artificial light consistently surrounding us, it can make it trickier to regulate our circadian rhythm, and thatís what bring us to the next point.

3. Reduce you screen time / keep devices away from from the bedroom

Although technology has enhanced and better connected our work and social lives, it can also significantly impact our sleep. This is because technology emits blue light (which occurs regardless of the time of day). When we are exposed to blue light, our melatonin, a hormone which helps us to sleep is suppressed, making it much harder to fall asleep. The fix here is much easier said than done. When preparing for sleep, do your very best to minimise your exposure to blue light and if you can, switch your devices to night shift.

4. Eat well

Your diet can actually play a larger part in your sleep than you may think. While we need food to give us energy for our day, we also need it to help support the systems and processes that our bodies undertake while we sleep! So to keep it simple, ensuring that youíre eating a healthy and balanced diet is going to help optimise your sleep.

Another thing to be mindful of is our caffeine consumption – our bodies do produce caffeine naturally, but research has shown that consumption of caffeine can make it harder to fall asleep (however its impact may differ from person to person pending sensitivity levels). The bottom line is, if you can look to avoid or minimise your caffeine intake at night, you should.

5. Shower or take a bath

Not only is shower or bath extremely relaxing, but it can actually help send you off to dreamland. That is because when you step out of the warm water, your bodyís core temperature starts to drop which triggers melatonin synthesis. Itís super simple, but the science tells us that we sleep better when weíre cooler.

6. Meditate

Our incredible meditation coach Meg has dished all the benefits of sleep meditation here, but to give you a quick snapshot, meditating before bed, in particular completing a sleep meditation helps you to not only let go of the dayís happenings, but also invoke your bodyís natural sleep aid, the relaxation response. Meditating helps to quiet your mind, calm your nervous system and settle your body in preparation for a truly restful night.

7. Consistency

Thereís no quick fixes when it comes to sleep and in order to create a good sleep routine and good sleep habits, you need to be consistent! Remember to start small and overtime youíll reap the benefits. Just like learning a new language or playing an instrument, you canít expect to conquer it from day dot, it takes time, effort and dedication – but it will be well worth it!

So, when it comes to creating your sleep routine, remember to think about the above and what is manageable, achievable and practical for you before bed.