SWEET DREAMS

There is nothing better than waking up well rested after a long, peaceful night of sleep.
However, with a wedding to plan added to the daily stresses of work, family and other commitments, sleep can often take a back seat.
Sleep coach Cheryl Fingleson explains prioritising a good night’s rest is extremely important.
“New sleep research shows one in five Australians take three or more sick days a year because of exhaustion,” she says.
“The cost to employers is $3.7 billion a year, according to the 2018 Sealy Sleep Census, and it’s only set to get worse.”
She has developed some methods and techniques to make sure you get ample beauty sleep to make sure you are rested and feeling your best on your big day.

Take a sleep audit

Over the next few days, make a note of when you go to sleep, when you wake up and rate your quality of sleep out of ten. Don’t rely on a phone app, smart watch or fitness tracker to do this job. Keep electronics out of your sleep space and use pen and paper.
Note down when you drink caffeinated drinks; refined carbohydrates or junk food. Record what exercise you do and when, as well as how much time you spend outside in sunlight. In the evening, record how long you spend on a screen and when you turn them off.
Have a look at your wind down routine: do you meditate, shower or read before bed? Then observe your sleep space: is your bedroom very cluttered; do you have light blocking blinds or curtains; is there a lot of noise; is your room or bedding too hot or too cold?
And this is a big one: in the middle of the night, how many times do you reach to check your phone?

Make sleep your number one priority

Obesity, type 2 diabetes and other chronic and often deadly health conditions are linked to inadequate sleep so it’s really important to make it a priority.

Now you know what your bad and good habits are, you can take some proactive first steps, including:
1. No caffeine after midday; follow a healthy, low-refined carbohydrate diet, avoid junk food and sugary foods, especially in the evening.
2. Consider your exercise routine: if you sleep badly after working out in the evening, hit the gym earlier in the day.

3. Get out in natural sunlight once a day for at least twenty minutes to help reset your body clock.
4. Go to bed and wake up at the same time, seven days a week. Studies show a sleep debt from the week can’t be paid off at the weekend.
5. Have an electronic sunset in the evening: dim the lights, lower the noise, no screens at least an hour before bed. Don’t binge watch television shows late into the night.
6. Make your sleep space conducive to rest. Don’t use heavy, hot bed covers; keep the temperature around 18 to 20 degrees; keep out artificial and natural lights.

7. Write a worry list an hour before bed. If you wake up in the night with your mind racing, transferring them onto paper can help remove them from your thoughts.
8. If you struggle to get to sleep, or wake up in the night and can’t get back to sleep, go and do something else away from your bed. Don’t stay there tossing and turning and stressing. Read a book in the lounge. Don’t go on your phone.
9. Keep phones out of the bedroom. I can’t stress this enough. Checking emails, social media or texts in the middle of the night is one of the main culprits for sleep disturbance.
10. Lastly, sleep well – your body and bank balance will thank you.