Tips and accessories for a better sleep

Wellness coach on setting yourself up for a good night’s rest

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While smart people slip into bed, some of us are sliding into the bad habit of nodding off on the sofa — with the telly talking and the lights on. 

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You don’t need to be an expert to know that is not how healthy people are made. We need to rest to recharge and be our best. 

Seems there are lots of slackers on the sleep front looking for advice on how to improve their nightly rest. 

Online searches for ‘insomnia’ skyrocketed in spring 2020 with a 58 per cent hike compared to years prior. No surprise, perhaps, the inquiries increased in the evening and reached its peak around 3 a.m. 

Canadian wellness and fitness expert, Chloe Alleyne ( @thesweatmovement ) makes sleep a priority because she knows there are consequences when she doesn’t.

“I am Cranky Coach Chloe when I don’t get enough sleep. I feel unmotivated to exercise, eat well and really just do anything productive. I’ll usually order take-out or hit up a drive-through because I’m too tired to cook,” the Toronto-based WW D360 (formerly Weight Watchers) coach says. “When sleep suffers, it can be harder to stay on track and make healthy choices throughout the day.”

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We asked Alleyne what she does to secure a good night’s sleep. 

Q: How much sleep should people aim to get in a night? 

A: Healthy sleep is critical to our overall health and wellness but unfortunately, a lot of us (myself included) are just not getting enough. For most people, “good” sleep means getting seven to nine hours of generally uninterrupted sleep each night. Research has shown this is the amount of sleep to allow adults to be fully rested and productive the following day. 

Q: What types of sleep technology can you recommend for aiding sleep? 

A: Sleep headbands – Listening to a meditation can be a great way to get to sleep, but sometimes your partner may not want to hear it, too. A sleep headband is a great way to get the benefit of earbuds without anything poking your ear at night. 

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Noise machine – For those who have trouble sleeping in complete silence, a white noise machine fills the empty space. Drift off into sleep to the sound of rain, thunderstorms or even white background noise. 

Wearables – A fitness tracker is a great resource for not only tracking your movement, but your sleep as well. Sync it to a sleep tracker to see how well you’re catching Z’s at night.

Oil diffuser – An essential oil diffuser (like this cordless one from Saje ) is beneficial. It can act as a mini humidifier which can help with sleep in a dry room. You can add essential oils like lavender to aid with your sleep and relaxation. Make sure your selection is pet safe if you live with animals. 

Sunrise lights – Your body’s circadian rhythm relies on the changing night and day. A sunrise light can help gently wake you up in the morning so you feel more energized and ready to take on the day. 

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Q: What is your bed-time routine? 

A: I start by taking a warm shower and then lighting a candle in my room that smells like lavender. Then I put on a facemask, brush my teeth and do some gentle stretching which relaxes (the) body which helps sleep come easier. I also spray Thisworks on my pillow before turning off the lights. 

I try to start my routine at about the same time each night, even on weekends.  

Q: Can you share some details about how you set up your room? 

A: I know from experience that when our room is messy and cluttered with laundry baskets and our toddlers’ toys, it’s really hard for me to sleep. So I keep it clean and tidy especially for bedtime. 

We have blackout curtains and use a white noise machine that I’ve grown accustomed to since we used it to help our daughter sleep when (she) was a baby. 

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I keep a book on my nightstand so I’m not tempted to scroll the gram and have a lavender scented candle that I light when I start my bedtime routine. 

Q: How many hours do you sleep? 

A: I aim for a minimum of seven. Sometimes that doesn’t happen because our toddler wakes up in the night. But on days that I feel really tired, I don’t shy away from taking a little siesta in the day. I use the WW app to track my sleep patterns.  

Q: What do you see as the greatest benefit of a good night’s sleep? 

A: I feel happier when I’m rested. And happier people make healthier choices. 

 

Accessories to support your sleep

Bose Sleepbuds II ($279.99) 

Wireless noise-masking buds plays content from the Bose Sleep app including nature sounds, tranquil tones and white noise.

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Lectrofan Sound Machine ($50.98) 

Drown out distractions and eliminate silence with the LectroFan noise and fan machine which generates 20 different sounds.

 

Dodow Sleep Aid Device ($79.99) 

It’s a metronome with a light system that guides you to sleep. The exercise takes as little as eight minutes, slowing your breathing from 11 to six breaths per minute to help you fall to sleep.

 

Beurer TL30 Wake-up Light ($79.99)

Get your dose of healthy sunlight on dark or rainy days with this therapy lamp which produces flicker-free and UV-free light.

Withings Sleep Pad Monitor  ($114.99) 

This sleep monitor slips under your mattress and tracks sleep cycles, heart rate, breathing disturbance and snoring. It analyzes your data to provide you with customized reports and coaching to help you achieve better sleep.

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Hoomband Sleep Headband ($99.99) 

Settle your mind and ease into a restful night’s sleep with the help of this wireless audio sleep headband.

  • It features more than 100 hours of sleep-inducing audio content such as stories, meditations and ambient sounds.

Snooz Noise Machine

  • Tune out unwanted noise around you with the help of this Snooz white noise sound machine.
  • It has 10 adjustable tone and volume settings so you can choose the right noise level for any environment including your bedroom, workspace or nursery.

Some of Alleyne’s Do’s and Don’ts for getting better sleep

DO’S

  • Develop a consistent schedule: Having the same bedtime and wake-up time every day helps regulate your internal clock. If you stick with it, you’ll feel naturally sleepy come bedtime and more energized in the a.m. 

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  • Get active: Regular physical activity aids sleep.

 

  • Limit caffeine: I’m a huge coffee drinker but if I have a cup after 3 p.m, I find myself wide awake at 11 p.m. Tolerance for caffeine varies per individual so be mindful that if you’re finding it hard to sleep avoid drinking caffeinated drinks later in the day.  
  • Have an attitude of gratitude. Research has found grateful people are less likely to have negative, worrying thoughts when falling asleep, and help you have better sleep.

 

  • Get more daylight. Your circadian rhythm is your body’s natural clock and it relies on cues for when you’re ready for sleep. Try getting more sunshine in to improve energy throughout the day and keep your circadian rhythm on track for a good night’s sleep. 

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DON’TS 

  • Go to bed hungry or eat a big meal near bedtime. A light snack at bedtime can help sleep but avoid greasy or heartier foods.

 

  • Take your worries to bed. Going to bed with unhelpful thoughts, mental clutter and stress can keep you awake.

 

  • Use screens an hour before bed. The blue light from computer, TV and phone screens keeps your body awake. If you absolutely need to use your phone use the “night shift” mode. Even better, keep your phone out of your bedroom at night. 

Shopping Essentials is a new category that features highly-researched products, new and exciting launches or behind-the-scenes info — learn more .  All prices are accurate on the day of publication.

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