Six sleep habits you can start today to sleep better tonight

Sleep hygiene is a term that has been floating around for quite some time now. We all love some rest and relaxation or even some Netflix and chill after work, but are we doing the right things, to ensure we get better quality rest each night? 

How well you are sleeping throughout the night is just as important as how long. In today's fast-paced world, getting high-quality sleep can give you the advantage at work, at home and even at play. A few benefits to having a good night's sleep are: improved immunity, being able to maintain a healthy weight, improved mood and stress management, your risk of diabetes and heart disease is reduced, your fertility is increased and so is your sex drive.

Here are a few habits you can start thinking about to get that good zzzz every night:

1. Treat yourself to the best sleepwear -  Having the right outfit for the job helps us during times when we are awake and the same applies when we go to bed. If you move a lot during your sleep, it is advisable to wear clothing that fits close to the body without causing discomfort such as leggings and a t-shirt. If you get hot during the night, make sure you choose a material that is breathable such as cotton or linen, even newer smart plant-based processed fabrics such as rayon, viscose and lyocell will help keep you cool at night. 

2. Have the correct support - Your mattress, pillow, and duvet needs to be custom chosen for the job. Starting with your mattress (your primary support when you sleep) make sure you are sleeping on a mattress that has the right amount of tension for your weight and neck/back needs. The material of your mattress also matters when it comes to its breathability - air flow does affect how well you rest during the night. 

One of the simplest changes you can make is getting the right pillow depending on how you sleep:

  • Side sleepers may need a firmer pillow and a pillow on the thicker side. Look for one that’s as thick as the distance between your ear and the outside shoulder.

  • Stomach sleepers may need a soft pillow—or no pillow at all—underneath their head. A pillow under your stomach and pelvis may help prevent back pain.

  • Back sleepers may need a flatter pillow, to keep your head and neck in alignment. Back sleepers may want a softer pillow—but if you have neck pain and sleep on your back, look for a pillow that provides additional support, while maintaining the softness that’s comfortable for you.

3. Keep the devices outside of the bedroom - It’s nothing new to us now, technology in the bedroom is a big distraction and a disruption to getting a good night’s sleep. Keeping technology outside of the bedroom can be a simple blanket rule to solve this problem otherwise you can take other measures. By having designated places to use certain devices, such as a workstation for your laptop outside of your actual bed goes a long way to ensuring that the bed is used only for sleeping or time with your partner, thus training your brain’s habit responses. As for music and sound, silence is the preference but it has been encouraged to use white noise or soft low-fi music to sleep. 

4. Create an atmosphere for sleep - Keep an open window and your bedroom door to encourage airflow. You can also improve the quality of air in your bedroom by having house plants such as the Golden Pothos, Snake Plant, Water Lily and Aloe vera which are known to be air purifiers. 

Change the lighting in your room to a warmer globe by purchasing blue-light-free light bulbs. By eliminating the blue light in your bedroom (the same as putting your devices onto night mode) you are working with our body’s circadian rhythm which is important in maintaining a regular sleep routine. And when you do fall asleep, make sure you keep your room as dark as possible to ensure you enjoy optimum rest. 

5. Scent matters - aromatherapy is an age-old tradition of using the healing elements of scent for general wellness. Scents can take you to places such as a childhood memory of enjoying vanilla ice cream or the scent of a loved one. As part of our memory that we lose last, it is very powerful in sending signals to our brain for the formation of habits. Here at A COMPLEXION COMPANY, we burn a candle when we are working - the scent association tells us it is time to work, a powerful tool when working remotely and your environment changes all the time. A night time scent including lavender or jasmine can help induce sleep, and when maintained over time, become a part of your night routine. The scent association works as a powerful reminder of ‘it is time to sleep now’. You can then use the same spray when you are traveling helping you fall asleep in places such as a train or plane. 

6. Practice some pre-sleep rituals - Around an hour before bed, create a nighttime routine as a part of your daily self-care. This is some of our favourite things to do before bed:

  • Enjoy a relaxing bath with sleep oils and magnesium salts (magnesium is easily absorbed through the skin, supports your brain function and aids better sleep. It quickly remedies sleeplessness or waking during the night) 

  • Have a caffeine-free drink such as rooibos (our favourite) and chamomile, which are among the most popular choices to wind down at the end of the day

  • Stretching by warming up your muscles can help release tension built up during the day. Don't forget to drop your shoulders and unclench your jaw!

  • Meditation and prayer are great ways to unpack the day. From within your sacred space, you can confront any worries, concerns, and anxiety you may have picked up throughout the day and bring your mind to a place of peace and calm. Reconnecting with the power that resides within you, realigning and reconnecting yourself to the source of all things. We recommend doing this whilst sitting, kneeling or lying on the floor immediately before bedtime for the ultimate human ‘earthing’ effect. 

  • Taking time on your nighttime skin routine reinforces both your skincare habits and when conducted as a part of your pre-sleep routine, gets you ready for bed. Between skincare steps of cleansing and toning, we like to mix our Organic Raw Moringa Oleifera Leaf Powder into a clay mask with french clay and rosewater to indulge in 10minutes of quiet time whilst our face mask gets to work. The ritual of taking-the-day-off through a sensual nighttime skincare routine is a complete luxury to us. 

  • Enjoy quality time with your partner. Talk, cuddle, have sex! Learning to fall asleep feeling safe and accepted next to the personification of love in your life is a habit worth having and enjoying. 

Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu - A person is a person through other people

Translation: 'I am because of who we all are'

Zulu Proverb