Why clean sleeping is the latest health trend
In December 2016, Gwyneth Paltrow and her team at Goop, published an article in the Daily Mail (UK) on clean sleeping. It subsequently became the one of the biggest health trends in the northern hemisphere in 2017. She even went as far as saying that sleep should be your number one priority – before you even look at what’s wrong with your diet. Here’s why.
We’ve talked about several issues that arise from poor sleep in our other posts –
- Sleep better – live better
- Chronic illness and poor quality sleep
- Is your bed making you fat
- Your healthy sleep regime
Gwyneth’s clean sleeping advice just confirms what we’ve been talking about. We’ve streamlined her tips for you (and excluded the costly ones).
Her trusted doctor Frank Lipman writes, first, that you need to be looking to your daytime activities – exercise, how you wake up, practicing mindfulness to clear your head and also the amount of sunlight you are getting. He also talks about the use of caffeine, your diet and what medications you are taking that could be interfering with your sleep cycles.
For your evening and night time routines he suggests some definite strategies to improve the way you fall and stay asleep.
- Electronic ‘shut-down’
We’ve also covered this one before – but Dr Lipman says that by 10pm you should be technology free as these interfere with your neurotransmitters.
He recommends preparing your space by listening to calming music, diming your lights and perhaps having a warm bath (in South Africa, probably better to shower) and also removing any distractions about an hour before you turn in.
Trying some yoga, meditation or breathing techniques will help you to clear your mind of your day’s worries and bring you the calm you desire to fall asleep peacefully.
It’s imperative to have a regular routine. Try your best to go to bed and rise at the same time during the week and on weekends. The real reason for this is our natural sleep and awake rhythms – by making them as regular as possible your brain becomes accustomed to releasing sleep and awake hormones at the right times.
This is a simple one. Our bodies actually need darkness to signal the production of melatonin – the sleep hormone. Block out curtains and/or eye masks are a great way to solve the problem of too much light. Try to cover any lights that are on – even the glowing red lights of a plug adaptor are a no-no.
We think many people are well aware of this one. On a hot summer’s night it’s very difficult to sleep and the same can be said during very cold winters. Keeping the temperature just right (for you) is another way you can add to the great sleep experience. Most people will sleep comfortably at between 15 and 18 degrees Celsius.
If you have issues with noise which are out of your control, rather invest in a set of earplugs. Another strategy which you can employ, is to utilise ambient white noise – the sound of rain or waves crashing will send you to la la land in no time.
- Skip the meds and booze and take supplements instead
Chemical sleep aids are really not great. They actually don’t solve sleep problems, but mask them and might leave you feeling groggy the next day. The same for the booze – it helps you fall asleep but you will no doubt wake up in the second half of the night, because of how it is metabolised. Lipman suggests rather turning to supplements such as magnesium or things like camomile to give a calming effect. If this doesn’t work ask your doctor about a melatonin supplement – this is the body’s own sleep hormone.
Lastly, stressing about falling asleep is counterproductive as it stimulates your brain and your cortisol production. Try reading something instead, as the mere will to stay awake will help you to fall asleep – ironic we know.
We really think this little trend initiated by ‘the GP’ is actually one worth following!