Sleep is a critical ingredient of mental wellbeing. It allows our brains and bodies to recover and restore, and, without enough of it, our physical health, emotional wellbeing and cognitive and athletic performance suffers.
Generally, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night but, because of long working hours and limitless access to entertainment like Netflix, YouTube and social media, most of us are in a sleep deficit.
We spoke to Nicola Jane Hobbs, Stress & Rest Researcher and Reflex Ambassador to get top tips to help you get the sleep your brain and body needs.
- Try to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day, including on weekends. If you work shifts or have young children, simply do your best to create a regular sleep-wake rhythm.
- Create a caffeine cut-off point six or seven hours before you begin winding down to go to sleep.
- Keep your bedroom clean, calm and uncluttered so it feels like a soothing place to be in.
- Create a screen cut-off point. Avoid using your phone and watching TV for an hour or two before going to bed to reduce sensory stimulation.
- Create a transition ritual between work and non-work time to help your brain switch off from work and avoid checking work emails in the evening.
- Use soothing scents like lavender and chamomile on your pillow to help calm your nervous system.
- Create a wind-down routine to prepare your body and brain for sleep. This might include having a warm bath, drinking a calming tea like peppermint, resting on an acupressure mat, reading a novel or any other soothing activity.
- Exercise for 20-30 minutes a day – but try to avoid intense exercise too close to bedtime.
- If you find you can’t sleep because you’re worrying, create a 5-10 minute ‘worry window’ where you can write down or offload all your worries before you go to sleep.
- Make time for short periods of rest and relaxation during the day to reduce your stress baseline and make it easier for you to fall asleep at night.
At Reflex, we value mental health just as much as physical health. Science tells us that exercise and mental health are intertwined and we believe that making quality sports nutrition isn’t just about enhancing body condition, strength and fitness but also about helping reach goals, enhancing wellbeing and ultimately making people feel good.️
Sometimes we feel that the fitness world can forget that it’s about more than just looks. We want to bring mental health to the forefront so start conversations, break down barriers and come together as a community to support one another. We don't want anything to stop you reaching your goals and feeling your best!