The “clean” movement has embraced everything from food to beauty, and clean sleep is the new kid on the block. Based around the idea that sleep is crucial to your appetite and energy levels, your health and even your attractiveness, sleeping clean suggests you prioritise quality zeds over diet and fitness.
Poor-quality sleep not only makes us irritable (grrrr) and takes its toll on our looks (who wouldn’t want to be bag-free?), but it may lower memory function and immunity and cause weight gain; suddenly getting a good night’s rest has jumped to the top of our “to do” list.
So how can you start to sleep clean?
Clean sleeping starts with breakfast! Skipping the morning meal means you start your day running on empty, and disrupts your body’s natural cycle. Plus the nervous adrenaline energy you’ll have to tap into to get by puts your body under stress, making you more likely to turn to sugary snacks and stimulants such as caffeine to keep you going – all of which can disrupt your sleep come evening time.
Try this: Eat a slow-release breakfast such as nut butter on wholegrain toast within 30 minutes of waking up. Drink around 1.5-2 litres of water a day to help flush disruptive toxins from the body, and avoid stimulants such as caffeine after 2pm.
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Likewise, eating too late can keep you up at night – stop snacking at least two hours before bedtime as this will cut down on trips to the bathroom through the night. Clean sleep also promotes the benefits believed to be gained from intermittent fasting – it’s suggested you should keep a 12-hour fasting window through the night to let your body cleanse, and studies found it could help with weight loss too.
Try this: If your dinner is over by 7pm, don’t eat again until 7am the next morning. Ditch the glass of wine with your evening meal, as processing this is yet another thing to keep your body busy through the night.
Anything that helps the body relax is going to help ease you in to sleep. Yoga Nidra, which means ‘psychic sleep’, is a form of meditation that is said to give you the benefits of sleeping, while awake, but any form of meditation and mindfulness could have sleep-boosting benefits – there are plenty of guided sessions online. Likewise a relaxing head or foot massage (call in those favours from your other half now!) and using acupressure points for relaxation can all help you get ready for bed.
Try this: A great point for easing tension is in the webbing of either of your hands; find the mound of muscle between your thumb and index finger and massage firmly in a circular motion, pressing both from above and beneath, as close to the bones as you can get, for around three minutes. If you have time, run a warm bath with relaxing essential oils such as lavender, jasmine and sandalwood to help muscles and your mind relax.
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It’s time to step away from the smart phone and knock Netflix on the head. You need to create a no-tech zone, particularly running multiple screens, an hour-and-a half before you get into bed. Not only does blue light from all these suppress sleep-inducing melatonin, but being bombarded with envy-inducing holiday snaps, political rants and work emails is not conducive to relaxation and can lead to sleep deprivation.
Try this: Keep laptops, iPads, TVs and, yes, even your beloved mobile out of the bedroom, and avoid checking social media close to bedtime – it fires off a dopamine loop of anticipation and disappointment in your brain that is difficult to switch off. Think about investing in an alarm clock to help you see your bedroom ban on mobiles through!
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