Sleep. Are you getting enough?

The art of Sleep

With everything that’s going on at the moment – it’s no shock that millions of us are reporting problems with sleeping.

Of course some of us are having a truly traumatic time and no tips here are going to solve those thoughts spinning around late at night – although some of the hints may come in handy. But people with low level anxiety or disrupted routines often suffer sleeplessness too.

Whether that’s trouble falling asleep when you go to bed, or waking up in the early hours and not being able to drop off again – it can be frustrating and miserable. It also leaves you tired, irritable and unable to concentrate next day. So what to do….

Here are a few things you can try to improve your chances of getting a little shut-eye.

  • Turn your bedroom into a haven of tranquillity. You’ll sleep so much better if your bedroom is quiet, cool, clean and relaxing. Tidy your room – a calm and ordered environment is always conducive to good sleep. Minimise as much noise as you possibly can. Dim the lights as you’re getting ready for bed and consider changing bulbs to give a softer glow – light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that regulates natural circadian rhythms. And find your perfect temperature, it’s probably cooler than you’d think. For most people this is between 60 and 75 º F (15 – 23 º C).
  • Step away from technology. The artificial or ‘blue’ light emitted by televisions, phones and computers can disrupt your body’s preparation for sleep so attempt to keep them out of the bedroom. There is also nothing worse for sleep than constantly checking the news and daily virus figures before you go to bed, so don’t do it.
  • Get yourself a sleep schedule. And stick to it. If you keep the same bedtime and waking time – even at weekends – it helps regulate your body clock and you’ll sleep more soundly.
  • Go for comfort. The best mattress and pillows are completely subjective but getting the right ones for you can greatly enhance your quality of sleep. It’s recommended that you replace your mattress every 10 years – which is hardly feasible at the moment – but new pillows that support the head properly will be available online.
  • Go easy on the alcohol. Having an alcoholic drink (or two) might seem like a magical quick-fix for all your problems. But it disrupts your sleep patterns so that you fall asleep quickly but often awaken again in the early hours. You don’t have to ban the booze completely. If you want your favourite tipple – try to have it with your evening meal.
  • …and the coffee and heavy meals too. When consumed before bed, caffeine stimulates the nervous system and stops your body relaxing naturally. It can stay elevated in the bloodstream for 6-8 hours so either drink your coffee and tea earlier in the day or choose decaffeinated versions. Similarly, eating heavy meals, particularly those heavy in carbs, late at night, can negatively affect sleep quality.
  • Exercise – but not too late in the day. Exercise is one of the best ways to improve health…and sleep. Moderate activity, particularly if you can go outside to do it, has been shown to halve the time it takes to fall asleep. For best results, exercise at least 3 hours before bed so that your body has enough time to wind down.
  • Relax and clear your mind. Relaxation techniques are a tried and tested way to treat insomnia. Strategies can include meditation, deep breathing, taking a warm bath, listening to music and reading a book – maybe not horrors or murder mysteries though!

For more information about how we can help call us on 01925 752264