There are simple steps you can utilise sleep to support your body and mind
This week is Men’s Health Week; an opportunity for all of us to pay a bit more attention to men’s wellbeing. Research shows that men are far less likely than women to address health concerns or share worries about their wellbeing, both physical and mental. Men’s Health Week shines a spotlight on just how important it is for men to take care of themselves.
Some of the most common health concerns among men can be made more likely or serious by a lack of sleep. Conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and mental health issues like depression are all exacerbated by poor sleep habits, so we’re going to share a few key tips men can use to improve their sleep hygiene. Let’s take a look.
Keep your tech out of the bedroom
Your bedroom needs to be a space you associate with rest, not productivity. Filling your bedroom with technology – such as a television, your laptop and your smartphone – can make it difficult to switch off and unwind at the end of the day. Instead, think of your bedroom as a space you can cut off from the rest of the world. No matter how stressful and demanding your day has been, your bedroom will remain a quiet and peaceful escape.
Exposing your eyes to the lights from your smartphone and other devices can also wreak havoc with your hormone release, preventing the brain’s melatonin production. Melatonin – sometimes known as the sleep hormone – helps let your body know that it’s time to start winding down.
Find the right sleep position for you
We all sleep differently. Some of us will feel inclined to sleep on our backs, while others will feel the urge to flip over or turn to the side. There is no best sleep position that works for everyone, as we all have different needs, but some positions are generally considered better for your health than others.
Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees, or on your back with a pillow under your knees, is the best way to support your spinal health while you sleep, keeping everything in alignment. Sleeping on your front with your head turned can put extra stress on your neck.
Abandon the snooze button and create a routine
You might think that hitting snooze for an extra five minutes will help you feel more rested through the day, but you’d be wrong. The small snooze window doesn’t give you enough time to enjoy more quality sleep, so you’re better off simply setting your alarm later and getting up straight away.
A sleep/wake routine is vital to your overall health. Aim to go to bed and wake up at around the same time every day, including on the weekends, as this helps to make sure that the sleep you do get is high quality and restful, because your body will learn to read the signals that bedtime is near.
Give yourself enough time to wind down before bed by stretching, reading or meditation. The National Sleep Foundation recommends getting between seven and nine hours sleep every night.
Temperature has a big part to play in helping you feel comfortable while you try to drift off. The ideal sleep temperature is on the cooler side, so don’t be tempted to leave the heating on overnight or wrap yourself up in lots of layers. As the weather gets warmer and the mornings get lighter, consider investing in blackout blinds or curtains to keep things cool and dark until you wake up.