Many of us have a bittersweet relationship with sleep. We either constantly want more of it but just don’t (or can’t) get enough, or we resent that it pulls us away from doing a dozen other things (like watching back to back episodes of Orange Is The New Back).
But the truth as we all know it is sleep is vital for our brains and other organs to repair themselves properly, says international sleep coach Nick Littlehales. “Poor sleep can determine how far you are away from your personal best, what you do and can achieve, as well as impact your overall life expectancy.”
Those sound like some pretty good reasons to learn to master it, right? Which is why we asked Nick to share some more of his sleep wisdoms with us.
Expert Sleep Tips
Q: What are the key signs that people aren’t getting enough?
Nick Littlehales: “Hyper activity and memory lapses camouflaged with random excuses. They might be irritable, impatient, irrational, dependent on tech, uncharacteristically over-committing and multitasking and often people might experience weight gain and loss.”
Q: What are some common habits that sabotage sleep?
“Today it is very common for people to be over-stimulated with caffeine and hardly anyone thinks strategically about sleep. Without a pre- or post- sleep routine people are setting themselves up for sub-par sleep. Compound this with a lack of exercise, poor diet, no tech control, not enough daylight and the fact that people are often too hot in bed.
“This time of year people are coming down with cold symptoms, which unfortunately turns us into a population of mouth breathers. Breathing through the mouth is one of the most common barriers to sleep and people can use a product like Breathe Right to open their nasal passages, encouraging a natural breathing process.”
Q: What are your best tips for a more refreshing night’s sleep?
“These are my seven key sleep recovery factors that lead to a better night’s sleep:
- Learn more about the circadian process.
- Know your chronotype sleep characteristic. [i.e. are you an early bird or a night owl?]
- Think of sleep in 90-minute cycles not hours.
- Get a much better everyday balance between activity and recovery.
- Adopt clear practical and achievable pre- and post- sleep routines.
- Ensure the products you sleep on and with are correctly [matched] to you.
- Ensure your bedroom is set up focused on being “a sleeping room” and a mental and physical recovery room, not a play room.
Q: What are some simple, natural cures for insomnia?
“There are no natural cures. Herbal, valerian-based remedies can help relax and promote sleep, but you need to establish what’s causing it and fix it. One technique is called “sleep restriction,” which is resetting your sleep cycle. Restrict sleep to 2 cycles (3 hours) at night and keep that up for a few days. Then move onto 3 cycles then 4 cycles and so on.”
Q: What’s your best tip for sleeping better when you’re travelling?
“Take something with you that is completely associated with you personally sleeping at home: sounds, comfort blanket, pillow etc. This will work as a trigger to encourage you to fall into sleep.”
Breathe Right Sleep Hangover Competition
Breathe Right want you to know when you’ve got a Sleep Hangover! To enter, simply tell or show Breathe Right in a Facebook status update, tweet or Instagram post how your Sleep Hangover is impacting your day, using the hashtags #SleepHangover and #BreatheRight. Once your post is live, you instantly enter a competition to win a night for two, at QT Hotel (Sydney or Gold Coast) including a 90-minute massage for two at SpaQ and dinner, valued between AUD$1500 and AUD$1800. The competition closes August 11, 2015 and there are three prizes to be won: two in Sydney and one on the Gold Coast. Click here for more information!