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What does your bedtime routine look like? Does it veer more towards a relaxing a bath and breathing exercises or a brew and books?
Well if it’s the latter, you may want to think again. As according to a leading sleep expert we need to call cut on our coffee machine and create a kill time for our kettle at a surprisingly early time in order to create optimal conditions for shut eye.
Drawing up the 10 Commandments of Good Sleep Professor Jason Ellis – Professor in Psychology at Northumbria University and Director of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research – puts avoiding stimulants at number 4.
And while having a cuppa or firing up a coffee pod seems the most natural thing in the world after a hard day’s work, Professor Ellis argues that we should actually have our last caffeinated drink a full eight hours before we go to bed.
He writes, ‘Although there are significant individual differences in how caffeine affects each of us, give yourself enough time between your last caffeine intake and your sleep time to make sure that it does not interfere with your ability to get off to sleep.’
So if you plan to turn the lights out at 10pm, you’ll need to have taken your last sip of builders at 2pm. Considering most working days finish at 5pm, we think this could feel like a pretty long 3-hour window.
Thankfully there are some amazing herbal teas on the market. Rooibos is a great alternative to regular black tea, while chicory coffee blended up with your favourite milk is also worth a try.
Commenting on the importance of good sleep hygiene, Professor Ellis says, “Over the past few years there’s been a growing awareness of the impact sleep can have on our physical and mental wellbeing and not just for those with sleep problems.
“With the wealth of studies, surveys and expert opinions, it has led to a lot of conflicting messages. By looking at the different advice and scientific evidence, it’s been possible to create a simple, best practice guide for achieving a healthy night’s sleep.
“The guide is simple to follow and shows how making a few changes to your routine over a 24 hour period can make a huge difference to your wellbeing.”