Sleep. We all need it. Most of us can’t get enough of it – quite literally. And most of us could do with about a six week long nap. We’re currently sleeping less than we ever have in our existence. And two thirds of adults aren’t meeting the recommended 8 hours of sleep. And with health issues such as Alzheimer’s, obesity and even cancer proving to be linked to deficient sleep, our attitude towards sleep is becoming a massive health challenge across the globe.
I definitely sit in the demographic of insomniacs who begrudgingly go about their day hoping for the night they get over 6 hours sleep. I, sadly, got my sleeping patterns from my dad. Who also finds himself awake at silly o’clock and works off little-to-no sleep. And when this is mixed with having a chronic illness, it’s just a recipe for a bed bound disaster. And I’ve tried many times to sort out my sleeping patterns and sleeping habits. But, as I’m sure many others do, we always just fall back to our old ways.
So when BedGuru asked me to take on their Choose Sleep Challenge I was intrigued. Essentially, the challenge is inviting people to reclaim their sleep and get 8 solid hours of sleep and get back on track. With some simple ways to massively change your sleep, and a 14 day long diary to help you notice any patterns so you can alter your habits to suit your needs. And benefits can include bettering your productivity, mental & physical health and feeling less hungry/more energetic in your day-to-day! So, with all that being said, here’s how I got on.
So it started off with a few questions about your sleep. Just so you can see what you need to focus on, and so you’ll hopefully see a change. These questions include ‘what time do you go to sleep in the week?’ and ‘how much caffeine do you have in the day?’. They also have some really simple tips to help you get off to the right start and get 8 hours of sleep. These include:
- Go to bed at a similar time everyday
- Exercise daily, but not right before bed
- No caffeine after 2pm
- Avoid drinking before bed
- Keep your room dark & below 18 degrees
- No electrical devises before bed
- Eat no later than a couple of hours before bed
I was already going to bed at a similar time, and I don’t tend to drink in the weeks. However after looking at the pre-challenge questions I realised I should focus on switching off before bed so my brains not too awake when trying to go to sleep. I also drink quite a bit of caffeine so made the conscious effort to stop drinking any caffeine after 2pm.
WEEK 1 CHECK IN
So the first week went by, and by focusing on turning electrics off and cutting caffeine off I definitely noticed myself feeling more refreshed when I woke up and I was also sleeping more solidly. It definitely wasn’t perfect. I still wasn’t sleeping particularly deeply and would wake up if my room got lighter in the morning. And I had the odd day where work overthrew my sleep and I ended up editing until late. So I definitely felt the consequences in the morning. But it was a start and making an effort to get a good amount of sleep really helped me in the mornings especially.
As for the final week ahead, I wanted to continue to do what I was doing. But also focusing on exercising in the day, even just a little bit. I was doing so well at having a solid workout routine however it went a little down the drain the last month or so. So I made a plan with small workouts to help my energy levels. I also love to do some yoga in the evenings. Some people bash it, but I love a bit of yoga in the evenings to stretch everything out. It’s really calming and somehow just makes you ready to wrap up in a duvet burrito and sleep.
WEEK 2 CHECK IN
So by the end of the second week I definitely felt a huge difference throughout the day. And all because I was making sure I got enough sleep. Which, I know sounds obvious, but it also made me realise how much we neglect sleep when we get into a cycle of late nights and early mornings fueled with coffee and screens. I found exercising in the day and doing yoga really helped keep me tired and sleep deeper. And also helps keep my healthy mentally and physically. And I was feeling way more motivated to get stuff done in stead of sliding out of bed like a slug. All the bits I was doing from the beginning really started to show an effect as well, who knew cutting out caffeine could make you less dependent on it to get through the day?
So overall, taking on this challenge has really made me realise where I can switch up my lifestyle to be a little bit healthier and generally more productive. I know it seems so simple to just ~get more sleep~. But when you’re trying to balance work, hobbies, relationships etc. sleep can sometimes be compromised. Which in reality, is quite dangerous in the long run. But I also think having a challenge helps get you focused and in the habit of something, just like a workout challenge would.
This definitely isn’t something that can be fixed overnight. To really build a healthy sleep pattern and a healthy lifestyle it takes time and adjusting things to suit your personal needs. But nonetheless, I highly suggest anyone struggling to get enough sleep or find themselves needing a lunchtime nap should take on the challenge to better their lifestyle and reclaim their sleep once and for all.
This post contains sponsored content however all opinions are my own.