One in three Britons suffer greatly from inadequate sleep. With things such as; stress, phones/IT and taking work home being the most common contributing factors.
However, the cost of all those sleepless nights is more than just bad moods and a lack of focus – I’m not talking about the potential pile of online shopping bills that mount up either! Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – Which can potentially shorten your life expectancy. People take sleep for granted but in reality a good solid night’s sleep is essential for a long and healthy life.
Most of us need around 8 hours of good quality sleep a night to function properly – but some need more and some less. What matters is that you find out how much sleep you need and then try to achieve it. In order to do this, make it a general rule that if you wake up tired and snappy and find yourself wanting to swap the keyboard for a pillow by lunch time, its time to listen to your body and give it what it needs even if that means missing your favourite nighttime programme.
Take a moment to step back and really think about your lifestyle. Answer this question honestly – do you check your smartphone for messages before you even get out of bed?? If so this means we are starting this whirlwind that is life from the second we open our eyes. We put on the radio or television to be given the news as it happens and when it happens, we check our emails constantly throughout the day; we sit at our computers and/or watch television late into the evening. It barely stops, with all these things around us it is no wonder we find it difficult to switch off and wind down, and so it is clear to see why many of us are having trouble sleeping.
Here are some simple tips you can do in order to help you wind down before tucking in:
- Having a warm (not hot) bath can help your body reach a temperature that is ideal for rest.
- Reading a book or listening to music instead of watching the television or trawling through pages of social media will help to relax your mind by distracting it.
- Make your bedroom a relaxing place. The bedroom needs to be dark, quiet, tidy, smell fresh and be kept at a temperature of between 18c and 24c. Have a lamp with a low watt bulb at the side of the bed for reading.
- Do not go to bed too hungry or too full. Try to eat something light before bed to keep the pangs of hunger at bay until morning.
- What you drink before bed is also an important factor. Try not to drink anything with high amounts of caffeine; so if you normally enjoy a warm drink before bed, try a Horlicks or a hot chocolate rather than a coffee or a tea. However try not to drink just before turning in as this could lead to disrupted sleep due to waking in the night to empty your bladder.
- Include physical activity in your daily routine. Regular physical activity can help you sleep better. Be careful though, timing is everything when it comes to exercise – too close to bedtime and it could make you too energised to fall asleep.
- Consider healthy ways to manage stress. Start with something as simple as getting yourself organised, set your priorities and delegate tasks that can be delegated. Don’t forget that you need to take a break too so go out for a walk or share a coffee with a friend. Before you shut your eyes for the night make a list of all the things that are on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow – doing this physically will put it out of your mind so that you are ready for sleep.
When it comes to changing your lifestyle in order to enhance your wellbeing we understand that sleep is one of the most difficult things to tackle as some people will quite rightly say you can’t force yourself to sleep. However if you take on board the above tips, which are just common sense things to do you will give yourself the best possible chance of getting a good night sleep. We wish you sweet dreams Zzz…