Last updated on Jun 23rd, 2021 at 03:50 pm

Sleep is important, but when you’re stressed anxious and have a lot on your mind you could find yourself sleepless adding lack of sleep to your list of problems

According to the 1Life Wellbeing survey, many South African’s are struggling to sleep because of financial and work-related pressures among other worries. 

1Life suggest building a sleep ritual that will help you get a good night’s sleep and enjoy all the benefits of a good night’s sleep which include improved health, better concentration and even weight loss.

We got some tips from 1Life’s head of risk services Anton Keet on creating a sleep ritual and getting the best out of bedtime.

READ MORE: How sleep can help you lose weight

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Separate your day and night routine

Getting a good night’s sleep is an all-day affair. Building a separate daytime and nighttime routine can help your body get into a perfect sleeping condition.

  • Have a consistent waking up time:

Help your body get better at waking up in the morning by getting up at around the same time every morning and avoiding the snooze button.

  • Enjoy the sunlight

Sunlight, especially in the morning, helps you feel more alert. Light also helps your body set its daily sleep-wake cycle, which will increase how ‘awake’ you feel during the day as well as how sleepy you feel at night.

  • Get enough exercise:

Doing regular exercise during the day helps to optimise your hormone levels, making you feel more energetic during the day and then calmer and more relaxed at night. You don’t need a gym for this. You could simply park your car further away at the mall to encourage walking or use the stairs instead of a lift, or you could take a 10-minute walk around your garden or street block. We are also fortunate to have devices and products in the market that help not only monitor our wellbeing but can keep us on track – and reward us for our achievements

  • Minimise caffeine and alcohol consumption:

Caffeine can stay in your body for up to 8-10 hours. Consuming caffeine after around 2pm can interfere with your efforts to fall asleep at night, even if you can no longer feel the stimulatory effect.

Similarly, alcohol can decrease the quality of your sleep at night. Even though drinking alcohol may help you feel more relaxed and, in some cases, fall asleep quicker, it still interferes with your body’s ability to go into a deep and restorative sleep.

READ MORE: Make your bedroom sleep-friendly with these 4 easy tricks

Have a nighttime routine 

  • Adults need a bedtime too

Based on the time that you usually wake up at, work backwards to figure out what time you need to be asleep – to get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep.

  • Wind down an hour before bed

When this alarm goes off, start getting ready to go to sleep. Stop all stimulating and energising activities and start doing more relaxing or calming activities such as meditation and reflecting on the positives of the day.

  • Unplug

Artificial light from these devices can interfere with the production of hormones that you need to feel sleepier at night, as well as fall into a deep sleep.

Devices, such as TV, computer, tablet, cellphone, etc, are also usually highly stimulating and will prevent your body from fully relaxing before going to sleep.

  • Organize your thoughts 

It’s hard to relax when your mind is racing and full of thoughts, so write whatever is on your mind onto a piece of paper as you start to prepare for bed.

Not only will this help you to organise your thoughts and identify what’s on your mind, but it will also help you to relax knowing you can revisit these thoughts in the morning.

For some people, this might look like a to-do list to take care of the next day while for some it might be a review of work achieved. For others still, it may just be random memories, worries, or stray thoughts that are floating around.

READ MORE: Boost your mood: Sleep or move rather than sit


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