Branded by Gwyneth Paltrow as the biggest health trend of 2017, we decided to give this sleep experiment a try.
The whole idea is that sleep comes first. Sleeping plays a big part in our appetite and energy levels, and so low-quality sleep can have a negative impact on weight and metabolism. Additionally, sleep can affect your mood and memory, so your poor sleep pattern could be behind those grouchy moods and moments of forgetfulness.
This isn’t breaking news, we know, but it is a reminder of how negative an affect poor quality sleep can have on you. If you want to try cleaning up your sleeping, follow these steps:
Make sure you set yourself a bedtime and stick to it each night (yes that includes weekends too!) It doesn’t have to be ridiculously early, just a time that works well for you and that allows you to get around seven-nine hours sleep.
Blue light is emitted from our TVs, computer screens and phones. This blue light stimulates your brain while suppressing the body’s sleep-inducing hormone (melatonin). Also, often what we are looking at on this technology is not relaxing content. Put the emails down a few hours before you sleep to let your brain fully unwind and instead have a relaxing bubble bath.
If you really can’t put the phone down, download an app to block out the blue light or turn on the ‘Night Shift’ feature on iPhones.
You should give yourself a 12 hour fasting window to make sure you don’t eat too close to your bedtime, so if you eat breakfast at 7:30am, try not to eat anytime from 7:30pm.
Say goodbye to your 3pm coffee! In order to get a good night’s sleep, you shouldn’t have any caffeine after 12pm. This is because caffeine has a five to six hours half-life, meaning your afternoon coffee could be the thing preventing you from sleeping. When you feel the afternoon slump coming on, don’t reach for a coffee to help you, instead get yourself a large glass of water and take a walk around the office to wake you up.
Try to avoid drinking alcohol before bed. While alcohol does have a sedating effect, helping us to fall asleep, this sleep will be poor quality and will often be broken by you waking up during the night.
For a week I adapted my sleeping pattern to follow the clean sleeping rules in a way that worked for me. Setting and sticking to a bedtime of 10:30pm was the easiest rule to follow, allowing me to get a full 8 hours sleep. I also followed the 12 hour fasting rule strictly. I stopped my usual snacking before bed, which left me feeling less heavy at night and hungrier in the mornings. As a non-breakfast eater this was a plus, as it encouraged me to eat breakfast in the morning.
The technology rule was not so easy. Not using my phone before bed was a struggle, especially when hearing it buzzing on the other side of the room. However I felt so much more relaxed after swapping the technology for a good book in bed. It was also difficult to cut the caffeine, as my after lunch coffee is often the only thing keeping me going in the afternoon. While I missed my trusty caffeine boost, I noticed I felt sleepy by 10pm, meaning I actually got into bed feeling tired and ready to sleep.
During my first few days of clean sleeping I was left feeling groggy in the mornings and I didn’t have the high energy levels I had been promised. I persevered and after four days I started to feel the benefit. I was falling asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow and not experiencing the usual morning battle with the snooze button. I also felt more awake during the day, experiencing fewer yawns and more energy!
TOP TIP: I suffered from dehydration where I had cut out the afternoon caffeine, forgetting to put another liquid in its place. Make sure if you are ditching the afternoon coffee you replace it for a glass of water.
I was dubious about clean sleeping at first, and I was certain it was just another fad, but after a week I was seeing a difference in my energy levels, my mood and even my weight! Clean sleeping is not something to adopt as and when you feel a bit tired, as my experiment proved it doesn’t provide an instant fix. However, investing time into clean sleeping and finding a balance that works for you can be highly beneficial in the long term.
Find more tips for clean sleeping here.