Tips to get a better nights sleep

Wednesday, 08 March 2017

March is National Bed Month, an annual event that’s been running since 1990 to highlight how important sleep is if we want to be healthy in both body and mind.  If you find that you’re struggling to drift off to sleep or are waking up several times in the night, perhaps now is the time to take action.

Why does sleep matter?

An adult typically needs eight hours of good sleep a night. If you don’t get enough sleep then this can make you irritable, prone to mood swings, affect your memory and make performing even simple tasks difficult.

You should never drive tired as this can make you at a higher risk of having an accident and could ultimately cause you to have a fatal crash. If you struggle to get a good night’s sleep long term, you’ll be at a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.[1] It can also damage your relationships, both at home and at work.

Top tips

If you want to get a better night’s sleep, the first thing you need to do is think about your bedtime routine. If the time you’re going to bed and get up varies every day, this will be playing havoc with your body clock. Decide on a set bed time and get up time and try to stick to it as much as you can.

Are you drinking caffeine late at night or exercising in the evening? This could be keeping your brain active so don’t have caffeine after 3pm and if you can, move your exercise session to earlier in the day.

Start to have a golden hour every night. Winding down and relaxing will help you de-stress and your body will begin to prepare itself for sleep. Have a warm shower or bubble bath, ditch electrical devices and enjoy a cup of hot Ovaltine.

If your bedroom is too hot or too cold, this can cause you to wake up in the night so you may need to adjust when your radiators come on and off. It can be a good idea to have extra blankets to hand for colder nights.

Your bed needs to be comfortable and offer you the right level of support, especially if you suffer from a health condition that causes you to have aches and pains. Consider investing in an adjustable bed with an orthopaedic mattress, so you can find the right position for you. Some adjustable beds come with a massage function so you can have a relaxing massage before you drop off.

If you do all of the things listed above and still struggle to drift off to sleep, it’s important that you don’t give up. You shouldn’t spend hours tossing and turning, instead go into another room and do something constructive for half an hour (e.g. ironing or a crossword), before returning to bed and trying again.

If you require further help or think your sleeplessness could be related to a health condition, make an appointment to see your GP as soon as possible.

[1] http://www.nhs.uk/ipgmedia/national/royal%20college%20of%20psychiatrists/assets/sleepingwell.pdf

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