How a good night’s sleep can help you work rest and play.
I don’t have a problem….do I?
Well it’s true to say that everyone’s sleep needs are different, some need 4 hours and some more than 10!
Sleep can be defined as a natural pause in wakefulness during which the powers of the body are restored
This amount needed varies from person to person and throughout different stages of life, typically people need less sleep as they get older.
The common sleep problems can be sorted into 4 main groups:
- Getting to sleep is difficult
- Staying asleep is hard
- Waking up too early in the morning
- Poor quality of sleep
Why does poor sleep happen?
There are a good few reasons why one of the above problems could be happening to you:
- Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol or caffeine or not getting enough exercise.
- It could be just normal effects of ageing which can reduce your need for sleep
- It could be a medical reason such as needing to go to the loo more frequently disturbing your sleep, pain that may be disturbing you or some medicines can also disrupt your sleep.
- Stress, anxiety and worry are common causes of sleep problems particularly getting off to sleep
- Depression and low mood can lead to a person waking early in the morning and not able to go back to sleep.
- Sleeping in a strange place can also affect your sleep pattern
- Working shifts also disrupts the body clock and affects a good night’s sleep.
How can I overcome this problem?
Some simple Dos and Don’ts to help you get a good night’s sleep:
- Remember that sleep changes throughout the life cycle and that a lack of sleep alone won’t cause serious harm
- Go to bed and get up at a regular time
- Have a bedtime routine and slowly wind down before bedtime
- Get up if you are worrying, or are not asleep after 30 minutes, and do something relaxing for example read, or have a warm milky drink
- Exercise regularly, but not late in the evening
- Make sure your bed and bedroom are comfortable, for example, noise, temperature and light
- Turn off all screens-TV, tablets and phones an hour before bed.
- Check whether any medicines you are taking may be affecting your sleep
- Worry too much about not getting enough sleep
- Lie in bed worrying about other problems, note down any worries on notepad at side of your bed and consider them the next morning.
- Use your bed for other things than sleep (this does not include sex…that’s okay!!)
- Eat or drink caffeine after 6pm, and cut down during the day
- Smoke close to bedtime
- Drink alcohol close to bedtime
- Go to bed until you are sleepy
- Take naps in the day if you can and never for more than 30 minutes
- Stay in bed longer to catch up on lost sleep
Trying some of these will help to restore your sleep pattern and promote a good night’s sleep.
Advice on coping with insomnia.
- NHS Choices Live Well
Includes tips and tools to help you improve sleep, including a template sleep diary.
- Sleep Matters Insomnia Helpline 020 8994 9874 (6pm to 8pm)
Insomnia helpline run by the Medical Advisory Service.
- Mind Info Line: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm)