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Are you sleeping beautifully?

By Emma West
Thursday, March 22, 2018

Are you one of these people?.....

Did you know that, according to data from The Sleep Council, half of the UK population get 6 hours’ sleep per night or less? Even worse, did you know that 4 out of 5 people complain about interrupted or ‘toxic’ sleep?

We know we should be getting more sleep, and better quality sleep too. We hate that awful, zombie-like feeling the day after a bad night’s sleep. We know it’s bad for our health to forego sleep. We know it’s bad for our productivity at work. However, we still sometimes do things which put our sleep in jeopardy.

Read on for info on why we might sleep poorly and ways to make an improvement.

Here are 5 factors which contribute to us not getting enough sleep. 

Which ones apply to you?

●      Anxiety – We all have busy lives. Our jobs and families can make us worry. All this causes stress, leading you to struggle getting to sleep, or waking up in the night and not being able to get back to sleep.

●      Eating and drinking – Eating too near to bedtime can stop you getting to sleep because your body is still digesting. Drinking too near to bedtime can cause you to need the toilet in the night and no-one really likes having to get up in the night for that.

●      Caffeine and alcohol – While we’re on the subject, caffeine in coffee and tea is a stimulant which negatively affects your sleep. Alcohol might make you woozy at first, but leads to a restless night’s sleep. Cut back.

●      Screen time – This is a BIGGIE! It’s important to wind your body down before you go to sleep. If you’re watching TV, playing video games or stuck to your smartphone right before you go to bed, you may be struggling to drop off. Switch it off and leave it downstairs.

●      Not making time to sleep – It sounds simple, but you have to make time to sleep. If you’re going to bed late every night or getting up too early in the morning on a regular basis, you’re going to burn out.

There are other factors of course, such as working shift patterns, jetlag, having an uncomfortable bed or a baby in the house, but these are the main causes of poor sleep. These are also factors you can easily change.

6 ways to get a better night’s sleep

So how can we fight these symptoms and get ourselves sleeping better? Here are 6 ideas.

●      Develop a sleeping routine - Get back to your body’s natural sleeping cycle, or circadian rhythm. Train your body to expect and fulfil its need for sleep. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Make sure these times are around 8 hours apart. Don’t have lie-ins, and don’t nap during the day. Your body will soon fall into line.

●      Exercise during the day, not at night – Of course I recommend you take regular exercise, but don’t do it within 3 hours of your bedtime anymore. When you exercise before bedtime your body is too stimulated to sleep. Time it right and you will be absolutely exhausted when it’s time to actually go to bed.

●      Regulate your light intake – Your brain secretes a hormone called melatonin which makes you sleepy. When it’s dark, your brain produces more melatonin. However, when you’re exposed to light, your brain makes less melatonin, keeping you awake. At night, avoid bright screens such as TVs, tablets and smartphones within an hour of bedtime. Make sure your bedroom is completely dark. Wear a sleep mask if necessary.

●      Clear your head – Don’t let the stress of your day impact your night’s sleep. To start, make sure you stay away from thinking about stressful subjects such as work just before bedtime. Take time to relax and unwind. If you can’t do this, look at ways to manage your anxiety, such as deep breathing or meditating.

●      Eat and drink more sensibly – Limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume, as well as the times you do it. Don’t drink too much liquid before bedtime and don’t eat a big meal just before bed. Let your stomach relax before bedtime, along with the rest of you.

●      Create a better sleep environment – Think about the area where you sleep. Is it conducive to a good night’s sleep? Is it too hot, cold, light, noisy? If you think it is, take measures to correct it. Is your bed comfortable enough? Maybe it’s time to finally invest in a new mattress? Finally, ensure your bed is only used for sleeping (or sex. I’ll make an exception for that). Don’t lie on your bed during the day. Make sure your subconscious knows the association between your bed and sleeping.

If you can put these tips into place you should start to see an improvement and feel the benefits Over to you. What are your tips to a good night’s sleep? I’d love to know, so why not 

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