With everything that’s been going on around us recently, getting a great night’s sleep has never been more important. However, as hard as we may try to get to bed on time and achieve our recommended eight hours of shut eye, sometimes we just don’t get enough sleep or the quality of sleep that we hope for. This Sleep Week, which runs from the 3rd to the 9th of August, make getting a good night’s sleep a priority. Affecting mood, physical wellbeing and general mental health, sleep is incredibly important in helping our bodies function as they should. To celebrate Sleep Week and help you enjoy all the benefits of a good night’s sleep tonight, the team at In Essence has put together six easy tips that will have you nodding off in no time. Sweet dreams! Get into a routine Thanks to our natural sleep-wake cycles, your body can find it difficult to keep up if you’re heading to bed and waking up at different times every day. Making the effort to pick a bedtime and stick to it helps your body get into its own routine, ensuring you enjoy better quality sleep in the long run. When it comes to deciding when to hit the hay, you’re better off choosing a time when you normally feel tired to avoid tossing and turning. Time your evening meal right If possible, try and eat your dinner earlier in the evening. It can be hard to get to sleep with a full belly, especially if you’ve indulged in spicy or acidic foods, so time your evening meal so you’ll have a few hours to digest what you’ve eaten before you need to go to bed. If you do need to eat closer to bedtime, opt for a lighter meal or snacks that won’t leave you feeling worse for wear. Say no to daytime naps As tempting as it may be, to help improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep, it’s best to avoid napping during the day. Not only do many people actually end up feeling sleepier after waking from a daytime nap, but many also find it more difficult to get to sleep that night. If you do feel like you need a nap for whatever reason, try and keep it to less than 30 minutes and as far from your regular bedtime as you can manage. Take some time to wind down Setting some time aside to relax and unwind before you go to bed can help to make falling asleep easier. Before you climb beneath the covers, take a few steps to help manage your stress and anxiety levels and prepare your mind for sleep. There’s no one right way to do this, so try out a few different methods and see what works best for you. You might choose to take a relaxing shower or bath, try your hand at meditation or enjoy a few gentle stretches. If you need a little help to relax, try aromatherapy. Adding a sleep blend to your diffuser, treating yourself to a massage or rolling oils directly on to your skin are all good ways to reap the benefits of essential oils such as lavender and chamomile. Pat Princi-Jones, an aromatherapy expert and educator at In Essence, explains that, “Essential oils have a myriad of therapeutic properties which work to settle and sedate the central nervous system. Importantly, when used as directed, they have no side effects, helping you wake feeling refreshed rather than dull and listless, unlike some over-the-counter pills which can often leave us feeling drowsy and foggy the following day.” While everyone’s evening routine will be different, Cassey Maynard, an energy coach, trainer and yoga instructor describes her own nighttime routine as follows, “I diffuse In Essence Sleep formula in the lounge room for 2-3 hours before bed time. I also will take my diffuser into the bathroom for my evening bath or shower so I can switch out of work mode and into my home life. I will apply the roll on Sleep formula to my temples, forehead and neck when I jump into bed to take me off to dreamland.” Get your body moving We all know that exercise can make us feel great, but did you know that it can also help us sleep better? Not only has it been found that exercising during the day can make it easier to fall asleep, but it can also reduce the number of times you wake during the night, while also extending your total sleep time. It’s important that you exercise at the right time, though, as exercising too late in the day could see you feeling far more alert than you should when it’s time to wind down. Leave the bluelight out of the bedroom Although we do need to be exposed to light during the day to help regulate our sleep-wake cycle, having too much light around us at night, especially the blue light emitted by our phones, can make it difficult to go to sleep. Being exposed to excess light right before bedtime tricks our brains into thinking that we should be awake, when, in fact, we should be getting ready to drift off to the land of nod. Try reducing your phone usage in the two hours before you go to bed, or, if you do need to keep your hands on your tech, use blue light glasses or a blue light filter app to limit your exposure.