While summer is all about fun, sun and making the most of our beautiful outdoors, at Almond Breeze NZ we love a good hibernation too, and that’s what autumn and winter are all about.
These are the perfect seasons to dabble in weird oldy-worldy hobbies like cross stitch and knitting, and of course indulging in tasty treats like our milky chai latté with immunity boosting ingredients, hot choccies made with our decadent Chocolate Almond Breeze Almond Milk and our all time autumn fave, rice pudding.
But hibernation also means indulging in another of our favourite activities: sleep. Despite it being one of the simplest activities to do, it can still be fraught, so we grabbed the advice of a sleep expert to remind us how we can ace this most import of routines and #makeitbetter.
5 Easy tips for getting a great night’s sleep and improving health
1. Create good sleep habits
It may sound obvious but so many of us go to bed at flexi-o’clock, our heads full of tomorrow, tapping away at our screens, and completely forget that sleep is one of the fundamental requirements in achieving good health.
Lack of sleep can have longterm negative chronic health impacts such as obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, and can even shorten life expectancy.
“Sleep is one of the basics of good health so it’s important to set aside enough time to get an adequate amount of sleep,” he says.
“Good sleep habits are setting up a regular routine where you go to bed and you get up at the same time each day.”
2. Develop a pre-sleeping routine
Dr Epstein says it’s important to set aside the activities of the day both in your head and by what you do.
“Develop a pre-sleep routine when you mark the end of the day. You set aside the things for the day so you can begin to relax and go to sleep.”
This means switch the computer off, don’t check work email, set your phone to silent or better still, use the Do Not Disturb settings in your phone and alert people that you are available only during work hours, and do calming activities like meditation, reading or having a bath.
3. Create your sleep sanctuary
Electronic screens, Netflix, dirty laundry or clothes that need to be put away, do not make for a calm, restful and restorative sleeping sanctuary.
“You want to use the bed and the bedroom for sleep and intimacy only,” says Dr Epstein. “You don’t want it to become a site of entertainment and associated with being awake rather than being asleep.”
He suggests to make it dark, quiet, slightly cooler than other rooms in the house, and of course a comfortable bed.
“You want it to be a place where you can go to sleep,” he adds.
4. Avoid sleep saboteurs
These are the things that interfere with your ability to get to sleep, says Dr Epstein, warning that it’s best to avoid doing too much exercise immediately before going to bed.
“Exercise is a good thing for sleep, but if timed appropriately,” he says. “If you do your exercise right before bed, and exercise is a stimulating activity, it’s going to be very hard for you to get to sleep. So put in some time in between exercise and sleep.”
He also advises to be careful about what you take in that can impact sleep, like caffeine – coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks and alcohol.
“The effects of caffeine can last 4-7 afters after you take it, so making sure you don’t have it prior to bedtime can make it easier to fall asleep and prevent you from waking up during sleep.”
“Similarly alcohol can have some detrimental effects on sleep. Alcohol does make you fall asleep quicker, but it has the effect of fragmenting sleep so you wake up a lot and it therefore makes sleep not restful,”
5. Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Even leaving the car in the driveway and walking to the supermarket to collect a few items – no matter how brisk the weather – will raise the endorphins that trigger positive feelings, diminish pain sensations, boost self-esteem, reduce feelings of worry, stress, anxiety and depression, and improve sleep.
We all need to adapt an overall healthy lifestyle in order to get regular, quality sleep, adds Dr Epstein.
“People who are fit, people who exercise regularly and are in good shape sleep better. It’s part of being healthy.”
3 soul nourishing tips to #makeitbetter this autumn
- Set your alarm to get up slightly earlier and enjoy a few minutes outside with nature – the birds are so vibrant at the moment!
- Make your morning better by lighting a candle to gently awake your senses and then when you leave make a wish, or set a positive intention, or send out a prayer or thought for someone who needs it when you blow it out!
- Enjoy the cooler nights by heating up Chocolate Almond Breeze Almond Milk, add a few mini marshmallows and enjoy a nurturing drink that will warm you form the inside out!
Sunshiny Tropical Rice Pudding
Enjoy the taste of the tropics all year round with the ultimate comfort food that is just as delicious eaten chilled in summer as it is warm in winter. Our vegan Sunshiny Tropical Rice Pudding is a flavour sensation with fragrant jasmine rice, chopped tropical fruits and vanilla almond milk for a delicious creamy texture.
- 2 1/2 cups jasmine rice
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Pinch of sea salt
- Teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1–2 cups Vanilla Unsweetened Almond Breeze Almond Milk
- 3 cups chopped fresh fruit of choice
- Optional: shredded coconut, fresh mint and/or edible flowers to garnish
- In a large saucepan, add the water, rice, salt, vanilla, cinnamon sticks and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or so until the rice is fluffy and cooked.
- Stir in the almondmilk and fruit, and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Add in more almondmilk as needed for texture -if you prefer the mixture to be less solid, add more as the rice soaks up the almondmilk- and cover in the fridge to set overnight.
- Garnish with shredded coconut, mint and/or edible flowers before serving.
From our love of Almond Breeze almond milk to yours…
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