‘Clean Sleeping’ and why Gwyneth Paltrow swears by it

Portrait of Gwyneth Paltrow cropped at the upper shoulder

‘Clean Sleeping’ is the new clean eating, according to Gwyneth Paltrow. This day and age, it’s not enough to give up your favourite cocktails and tasty packaged and sugary foods in the name of good health.

Much like whether or not we allow ourselves to have the cake and eat it too, in the recent decade, how we sleep is suddenly open to harsh judgement and unwanted advice. We all know the impact that lack of sleep has on our bodies, performance and ability to think, and is strongly linked to chronic diseases like depression, heart disease and diabetes.

But clearly, a high percentage of Australians are still suffering from are suffering from fatigue and exhaustion on a daily basis due to inadequate or ineffective sleep.  Approximately 20 percent of Australian adults are sleep deprived according to a study by the Sleep Health Foundation.

Paltrow, one of the biggest advocates for clean eating, regularly discusses it on her company site, Goop. She says that clean sleeping is even more important than clean eating. Is Clean Sleeping the next big health trend?

So what exactly is Clean Sleeping?

Clean sleeping is nothing to do with the term ‘clean’, ie. showering before bed, or slipping into freshly laundered sheets. Clean Sleeping is about the behaviours and habits that can improve your quality of sleep and help you feel better rested.

How do you sleep clean?

Paltrow has her own regime and suggestions, but it really comes down to simple habits to improve sleep, like avoiding technology and bright screens for an hour before bed and sleeping in complete darkness. Here is what else is important:

Getting enough zzzz’s: The Sleep Health Foundation suggests adults get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, but Paltrow aims for 10.

Eat clean, sleep clean: Paltrow sees clean eating as one of its main principles. In her new book “Goop Clean Beauty”, the editors of Goop recommend cutting out sugar, alcohol, afternoon and evening caffeine and late night snacking entirely, all in the name of better sleep.

Napping is a no-no: Goop also suggests that you wake in sync with the sun, and napping only if you already sleep well. Napping is a no-no if you usually have trouble falling asleep.

Create your rituals: Paltrow is big for evening rituals and has her evenings planned. Taking a bath, or giving yourself a three-minute foot massage before bed are all regular options. (Because getting into bed on time alone wasn’t already hard enough, now you can add spa treatments to your nightly juggle of getting the everyday tasks done before bed).

Go offline: Paltrow suggests turning off your Wifi at night and turning your phone into aeroplane mode.

Copper pillowcases: Paltrow also recommends copper-infused pillowcases to get some serious beauty sleep and to prevent wrinkles. However, you can save yourself the $60. There isn’t conclusive research of the benefits of these pillowcases outside of a few very small studies.

The Bottom Line

Paltrow’s ‘Clean Sleeping’ regime does have some good advice in it. It’s no secret that a nightly routine can help you sleep better, but actually setting the time aside and sticking to it is a hard task this day and age. You may not be setting a timer for your foot massage, but at least going to bed and waking up at the same time every day is a good place to start.

Technology has a big impact on our sleep. If going technology cold-turkey is too much, reserve your will-power for a couple of days a week, or for the nights before a big event. What you also eat has a big impact on your sleep. Caffeine-containing drinks and food such as energy drinks, coffee and tea, chocolates and alcohol, can also disrupt your sleep. A lighter dinner may also help you sleep. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to follow Paltrow’s strict diet.

Before you run out to buy the latest metal-infused pillowcase, try drinking a glass or two of warm water with a squeeze of lemon in the morning to rehydrate your body instead.

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