HIIT, gut health, holotropic breathwork: there are so many trends for tapping your wellbeing these days. But according to a new poll of Flash Pack readers, the answer is simple: getting more sleep.
In an Instagram survey of over 500 Flashpackers last week, 63% agreed that sleep was the go-to ingredient that they relied on most for daily wellbeing, followed by drinking water (19%), running (9%) and yoga (9%).
Despite sleep being so important, however, research elsewhere suggests that most of us are not getting enough of it. According to government statistics, three-quarters of Brits get less than the recommended eight hours’ sleep a night, while a third of Americans are similarly sleep-deprived.
In fact, we can think of the Land of Nod as something of a panacea for physical and mental health; getting enough sleep promotes better mood, productivity and immune system strength. Equally, a deficit can make us grumpy, on edge and more prone to illness.
So, how to make the most of this golden potion for wellbeing? Below, we’ve rounded up the best and easiest ways to ensure some good-quality sleep. Plus – being the die-hard adventurers we are – we couldn’t resist a nod to the world’s finest hot spots for a deeply chilled nap. Keep reading to find out more.
5 ways to get better sleep on a daily basis
Need to catch a few more ZZZ’s? Get started with these tips.
Have a lie-in
Research shows that a weekend lie-in is good for you, so why not extend the ritual to weekdays too, if you can? If you have a bit of breathing space in the mornings – for example, if you get up early to work out – try changing up your routine a few days a week, so that you get an extra hour’s sleep instead. Your body will thank you for it.
Make time for power naps
There are all sorts of benefits to a daily power nap, from enhanced memory to a reduced sense of stress. Next time you’re tempted to “power through” to the end of the day, take half an hour out for a quick sleep instead. You’ll come back fresher, so you’re likely to get more done in the long-run.
Get to bed on time
However tempting it is to burn the late-night oil with Netflix – don’t. Getting into a rhythm of going to bed at the same time each night (preferably before midnight) is one of the best ways of establishing good sleep hygiene, enabling good quality and consistent shut-eye. In fact, hitting the hay between 10pm-11pm is such a boon, it’s been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
Wind down to sleep
Ideally, you want to establish a good wind-down routine before you go to bed, so that your body knows you’re ready to sleep. As well as cutting back on screen time, this means not eating, exercising or working too late into the evening. Instead, try a warm bath with Epsom salts, followed by a feel-good book and maybe a few gentle stretches.
Being hot and bothered is a surprisingly common culprit of interrupted sleep, so alongside darkness, you want to make sure your bedroom has a cool – but not cold – temperature going on. You want to stay cool in another sense, too. If you can’t sleep, don’t sweat it; the pressure you put on yourself will make things worse. Instead, try reading for a while, or make a warm drink, to lull yourself back into a relaxed state.
5 of the world’s best spots for a cat nap
Fancy a sleep on the wild side? Here are a few hotspots around the world for a deliciously calming nap.
A private island in the Philippines
Tourists, be gone. Your very own private island in the Palawan region of the Philippines is one of the finest places on earth to catch some quality snooze time. Stretch out on golden sands, with nothing but the sea and sky for company. Top the whole thing off with an aloe vera massage from a therapist who’s boated over for exactly that purpose. Bliss.
A Dhow boat off the shores of Zanzibar
Idyllic white sand beaches and turquoise Indian Ocean are the calling card of Zanzibar, best enjoyed from the deck of a traditional Dhow boat. Drift off to sunshine and a gentle sway, as you meander between coves and coral gardens in this enhancing island getaway.
A mountain retreat in Argentina
An outdoor woodland bath is the undisputed highlight of Laguna Condor Mountain Hut, a rustic alpine haven nestled in the peaks of Argentinian Patagonia. Grab yourself an alfresco wallow in the shadow of the snow-capped Fitz Roy, and the mighty Río de las Vueltas, before retreating to your cabin for a well-deserved nature nap.
A forest treehouse in Croatia
Located on the fringes of Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia lies a series of tree houses connected by scenic wooden bridges. This lovely hangout is your cue to escape the stresses of daily life, and kick back accompanied by the soundscape of the forest. With birdsong all around, and sunlight cutting through the canopy, this is a sleep app meditation brought to life.
A rooftop garden in Bali
Perhaps the finest aspect of the Ubud Wana Resort in the jungle hills of Bali is its rooftop garden. Surrounded by thick tropical greenery, it’s the very essence of zen; not to mention a prime napping spot. Since this adventure already comes with temple bathing, anti-gravity yoga and a Hindu meditation session, you’ll be in just the right headspace for chilling out in style.
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