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Sleep

The secret to the best rest

As the financial year draws to a close, it’s important to reflect on the habits that might make the next year more bountiful.

A recent National Geographic documentary revealed that just 150 years ago, people in Western countries were sleeping, on average, two hours per night more than we do today. According to the research, we are also sleeping more lightly, which means our sleep has deteriorated in terms of both quality and quantity.

The three most crucial foundations of health, happiness and wellbeing are good nutrition, exercise – and plenty of deep, restful sleep. If you’ve been taking care to stay physically fit and eat a healthy diet, yet you still feel like you’re not reaping the rewards you had hoped for, it’s time to consider what might be having a negative impact on your quality and quantity of sleep.

Many people say laughter is the best medicine, but scientifically speaking, sleep is going to make more of an impact on building and maintaining good health.

Studies have shown that adequate quantities of deep, restorative slumber help the brain consolidate learning and improve memory and recall, as well as contributing to heightened alertness and faster reaction times. From a more self-reflective angle, as you begin to examine and think about the factors affecting your sleep, you will naturally also develop a deeper understanding of yourself and a more profound insight into the forces that shape your life.

The more you can shift your attention out of your head and into your body at night, the more your mind will naturally slow down and switch off, allowing you to fall into a peaceful sleep. Try to move the energy of your thoughts down, for example, by slowing down your breathing, then moving your breaths from your chest down into your diaphragm and abdomen, and finally reaching out to notice any sensations you feel in your legs and feet.

You’ll sleep better, wake better rested, and be ready to make the most of the day ahead.

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