Reduce your stress levels without getting out of bed
Fractured sleep is one symptom of a successful but hectic lifestyle – and according to Dr Nerina Ramlakhan of London’s Nightingale Hospital, it’s a sign that you could be burning out. We asked the sleep and energy expert to provide her advice for getting your physical and mental health back on track. The answer: show bedtime who’s boss.
Protect your 90-minute window
“Burnout-prone individuals avoid going to bed early because they want to get everything done,” says Ramlakhan, “but starting to rest in the 90-minute phase before midnight is important for normalising the adrenal response and healing the adrenals” – the glands responsible for hormone production in the body.
Ditch the cognitive noise
“If you’re using social media or texting in bed, that creates ‘cognitive noise’ that prevents you from reaching the calm state that’s necessary for sleep.” No prizes for guessing the solution. “Keep your bedroom mobile phone-free – use an alarm clock rather than your phone, so you’re not tempted to pick it up” is Ramlakhan’s advice.
Drink the white stuff
“A glass of milk before bed can help induce sleep due to an increase in vitamin B6 and tryptophan, which boost serotonin and melatonin, the hormones that aid restful sleep,” says Ramlakhan. “They’re also found in tuna, chicken, cheese, eggs, nuts and seeds.” They’re definitely
not found in coffee, chocolate or beer – all of which can disrupt a night’s rest.
Workout and chill (literally)
“Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways of reducing stress hormone levels (mainly adrenaline), thus enabling you to sleep more deeply,” says the author of Tired But Wired: How To Overcome Your Sleep Problems. And when you’ve trained, drunk your milk and locked your phone away, it’s time to chill. “The brain needs to be slightly cooler than the rest of the body for optimal sleep. Being too hot can stop you getting to sleep and staying asleep, so keep your bedroom cool at night to alleviate this.”
Wo r k i n g l i ke a d o g ? Get a good night’s kip or risk burning out