You may have heard of the ‘clean sleeping’ trend, which was branded by Gwyneth Paltrow as the biggest health trend of 2017. Just like last year’s ‘clean eating’ trend, this one is all about using sleep to improve your health. But what does it entail? We explore this trend and how you can use it.
What is clean sleep?
Paltrow wrote an article for the Daily Mail outlining the idea of clean sleeping. She explains that she has a team of experts who are available to support her and give the best guidance. Her nutritionist Dr. Frank Lipman told her ‘poor-quality sleep can be unsettling for the metabolism and hormones, which can lead to weight gain, bad moods, impaired memory and brain fog, as well as serious health concerns such as inflammation and reduced immunity.’ The idea of clean sleeping is to achieve good quality sleep so you wake up feeling fully rested. The key is not to let the stress of the day affect your sleep.
Some of her suggestions, like ideally sleeping for 10 hours and giving yourself a daily massage, aren’t achievable for most. However, there are some really useful points we can take from clean sleeping.
How to improve your sleep
Although some of the clean sleeping ideas may be time consuming and expensive, you can definitely learn from their objectives. Here are some approachable ways to use clean sleeping in your own life:
In her article, Paltrow recommends ‘Yoga Nidra’ or psychic sleeping. This is a form of meditation that mimics the qualities of sleep while the body is still awake. The point of this meditation is to focus on each body part separately, in a circular motion. For example, focusing on your fingers, palm, wrist, forearm etc. all the way around the head, other arm and legs. This type of meditation is supposed to put your brain in a state of near-sleep. Once mastered, this can be extremely relaxing, but you will need to practise to feel the full effects.
For an easy meditation trick to do before bed, use mindful meditation. It works in a similar way to Yoga Nidra, focusing on how the body and mind feel at that precise moment. The important thing is not to dwell on thoughts. If a problem or worry comes into your head, acknowledge it and let it go. Breathe deeply and focus on your body, allowing yourself to become fully relaxed.
Don’t eat before bed
This is a good rule to stick to if you want to improve your sleep. Detox expert, Dr. Alejandro Junger advises you should keep a 12-hour fasting window at night. So, if you usually wake up at 7.30am, don’t eat after 7.30pm the night before. He says, ‘This is because your body won’t slip into deep detox mode until about eight hours after your last meal and then it needs about four more hours of undisturbed sleep to do its job properly.’
A study by the American Journal of Gastroenterology also found a significant link between late-night eating and acid reflux symptoms. So, it could not only harm your sleep but also make you ill in the long run.
Paltrow recommends pressure point head rubs and foot massages before bed. You may think this is unattainable to keep up every night. If you don’t want to do this as part of your daily routine, you could always introduce it to your night-time routine on a once-weekly basis.
Give yourself a gentle head massage stimulating pressure points on the back of your head. These are located about five fingers from the back of your ear at the base of your skull. You will feel a dip and a tender point at the right spot. Massaging these in a circular motion can relieve headaches, tension and can stimulate circulation.
Alternatively, a relaxing foot massage will help ground and relax you. Practice mindfulness during this and focus on the act and how it makes you feel. Or, you could ask your partner to do it for you and give them a massage in return.
The main point to take from clean sleeping is that it promotes good sleep hygiene. This is about having a sleep routine that enables you to have good quality sleep. As they say, quality is better than quantity! For more information, read this article on how to reset your sleep hygiene.
Do you practice clean sleeping? Let us know your tips in the comments!