Want the secrets to a perfect night's shut-eye? Us too.
Sleep expert Dr Nerina Ramlakhan knows the all shortcuts to achieving pure sleep – you know, the kind that leaves you refreshed and ready to kick ass in the morning. She believes it's all down to the choices we make during the day. “Everything we do during the day affects the cleanness and purity of our sleep. Clean sleep is simply sleep that is ‘unmuddied’ by the noise of the day. When we get this kind of clean sleep, we wake up feeling refreshed, invigorated and looking forward to the day ahead," she says.
But it’s not the hours of kip we have, but the quality of our sleep that matters. Dr Nerina says, “The key issue is that the sleep is pure and hits those rejuvenating depths that enable complete restoration of the body and mind. After getting clean sleep for 7 -10 days you can expect to feel different – your sleep will be deeper, you will feel more more energised and, importantly, happier and more positive when you wake in the morning.”
We asked Dr Nerina’s for her five non-negotiables for achieving clean sleep...
“I don’t commute on an empty stomach”
“So many of us end up having a ‘deskfast’ because it’s convenient and easy to grab something after we’ve got off the train or driven into work. However if you put your body through the stress of a commute on an empty stomach, you could seriously impact the sleep you have that night. This is because the body ends up running on ‘adrenaline energy’ on your way to work which is one of the main factors causing shallow, ‘muddy’ sleep. To achieve clean sleep, eat breakfast every day and within 30 minutes of rising.”
“I drink alkaline water”
“If you’re already drinking the recommended two litres of water a day and you want to take it to the next level, try adding a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of sea salt to alkalise the water. The body functions optimally at an alkaline PH of 7.35, so hydrating with alkaline water helps our body to work properly; transmitting messages and enabling our physiological processes including to get good restorative sleep.”
“I think about the half life of caffeine”
“We all know that cutting down on caffeine will help with sleep issues but very few of us think about the half life of the coffee or tea we’re drinking. The half life of caffeine is five hours which means if you have a drink at 5pm you will still have half that amount in your blood supply by 10pm. You probably won’t feel energised by 10pm but the caffeine is still in your system and it’s enough to stop you getting deep, clean sleep.”
“I try not to look aimlessly at my phone”
“When we get an alert on our phone the brain mentally responds, so even if the message is nothing significant we end up continuing to look at our phones, mindlessly following links on the internet and waking our brain up even more. It might be a tough habit to break but if you’re serious about getting clean sleep you need to stop looking at your phone an hour before you go to sleep. That may even mean banning your phone completely from the bedroom and investing in a good old-fashioned alarm clock.”
“I have four early nights a week”
“The hours before midnight are a really important part of clean sleeping; they are the hours that are deeply restorative, that heal the body and provide sought after anti-ageing benefits. Even if you get a good amount of sleep, going to bed late is likely to leave a large amount of your sleep being highly inefficient. Try to get to bed around 10.30pm four nights a week to allow your body to access that vital 90 minute phase of sleep before midnight.”