Cranky…tired…moody. You’ve been struggling to get to sleep and it’s really starting to take it’s toll.

A report published in 2019 on Chronic Insomnia Disorder in Australia, revealed that 6/10 of the study’s respondents reported experiencing symptoms of sleep disorders – including things like trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking too early and not being able to get back to sleep. About 15% had symptoms so severe that it could be considered clinical insomnia!

Interestingly, despite the long list of negative effects associated with poor quality sleep (see image), the report also concluded that very few Australians actually report this to their doctors.

 

Why is sleep important?

‚ÄčImportance of Getting Quality Sleep

When we talk about optimal health, sleep is often overlooked – despite being as vital as regular exercise and a balanced diet. But why is it so important, and what are the benefits of a good night’s sleep?

  • Better productivity and concentration; sleep has been shown to have several links to brain function
  • Reduced stress, helping prevent weight gain and reducing our risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases like Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease
  • Improved athletic performance – whether you’re an athlete, regular gym goer, or a walking warrior, quality sleep is associated with better performance, increased energy levels, better mental functioning and
  • Improved recovery
  • Improved mental health
  • Stronger immune function

 

That’s all great to know, but I’m still not getting good sleep!

 

How to Get Better Quality Sleep:

Check out this proven list of evidence-based techniques to help you with your sleeping habits:

  1. During the day, make sure you increase your exposure to bright lights (i.e get some sunlight!)
  2. During the evening, reduce exposure to natural light as this would have the opposite effect of the above.
    Tip: Turn on the blue light filter on your smartphone 2 hours before bed
  3. Avoid caffeine consumption after 3-4pm or 6 hours before bed time
  4. Set a bedtime routine:
    – Try sleeping and waking at the same time everyday
    – Optimise your sleeping environment (i.e. minimize external noise and artificial lights, set a cooler room temperature, comfortable mattress and pillows)
    – Have a warm, relaxing shower before bed
    – Relaxation techniques like meditation and breathing exercises
  5. Exercise regularly! (but NOT right before bed)
  6. Avoid eating late at night and drinking liquids right before bed
  7. Pro-Sleep supplements like melatonin

And there you have it! 7 science backed tips to help you improve your sleeping habits. Give them a go, and if you are still struggling with your sleep then it might be time to have your sleep assessed by a professional.