The science of Sleep: Why Rest is so important

Good sleep is essential for both our mental and physical wellbeing. The quantity and quality of sleep we get affects how we feel during the day and how well we function. Sleep isn’t just one consistent state but rather a series of phases that we pass through, helping the body and brain develop and repair. Sleep is especially important for healthy brain function, and anyone who experiences sleep deprivation will tell you that it has a dramatic effect everything from our reflexes to speech.

Sometimes a good night’s sleep is interrupted by things out of our control, for example if you have young children, but when that isn’t the case there is plenty we can do to make the most of those precious eight hours:

Be consistent – The word routine doesn’t always sound very appealing, but keeping to a familiar pattern helps the body to know what to expect and is an essential part of good sleep hygiene. If you can, keep bedtime to more or less the same amount of hours each day. If that isn’t possible, try following a similar pattern each day before going to bed to give your body the cue that you are winding down. For example; drink a cup of herbal tea, followed by a warm bath, enjoy your skin care routine and a few moments of meditation before switching off the lights.

Write it down – If your to do list is keeping you awake and you are constantly thinking of what you will be doing tomorrow, keeping a notebook by the side of the bed is a great way to let go of those thoughts and finally unwind. After a while this will become second nature and will help you become more organised too.

Scents to make you sleepy – Using therapeutic essential oils from high quality plant ingredients is a scientifically proven way to relax. The key is to know which essential oils to use, look for blends that are calming and contain oils such as jasmine, chamomile or lavender. We recommend our very own

Camomile Sky or Jasmine Falls bath and shower therapies. Both are expertly blended to include calming botanicals and are perfect used in both the bath and shower. All you need to do is inhale and relax!

Shut those curtains – For our brains to produce and release melatonin, a hormone that is essential for good sleep, it needs a dark environment at night. Make sure you have good quality thick curtains or blinds on your bedroom windows and that they are drawn each night before you want to go to sleep. The light from gadgets such as phones, tablets or laptops can be especially disruptive to your sleep, so make sure this are put away or out of sight to minimise their effects. Switching off your electronics at least an hour before bed can also dramatically improve your ability to fall asleep, how often have you gone to bed only to find yourself scrolling down your Instagram feed an hour later? I know I have.

For more ideas on getting a great start to your day find our tips on how to Wake Up Happy. Share your best sleep tips with us on social media #TheLeaf.