Review, reflect and make positive changes to your day-to-day routine to help you improve your sleep.
|Blog Article|||||By Simplyhealth||5 March 2021|
We all need the right amount of sleep for our optimum welfare. On average, healthy adults need 7-9 hours’ sleep for their bodies to carry out essential maintenance and housekeeping. Over time, sleep deprivation has serious health implications as our minds and bodies begin to malfunction. Here at Simplyhealth, we want to share some top tips to help you achieve a better night’s sleep and support your overall wellbeing.
Your mind: sleeping badly can impact your memory and your ability to concentrate or think clearly. It can also result in mood swings and feelings of irritability, which can lead to anxiety and depression over time. Furthermore, the feeling of tiredness from lack of sleep puts you at increased risk of injury and accidents1.
Your body: a poor night’s sleep can make you feel tired and lacking motivation the next day. Your risk of weight gain increases over longer periods as fatigue means you eat for comfort and exercise less2. Lengthy periods of poor sleep can disrupt your immune system, making it harder for you to fight off bugs. As time goes on, prolonged lack of sleep increases your risk of developing serious health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes3.
You’re not alone. Sleep issues are experienced by 40% of people in the UK4 and there’s a multitude of possible reasons why. Mental health can play a big part alongside musculoskeletal issues (not to mention how the land of Nod can turn upside down when a new baby arrives).
These low-tech, low-cost tips are intended to help improve your sleep hygiene and open doors to a well-rested and refreshed life. If your sleep problems develop more significant symptoms, these may help – but medical advice may also be advisable.
1. Your bedroom
Give your bedroom a performance review: darkness, quiet and a comfortable temperature delivers the ideal environment. For cost effective aids, think eye masks and ear plugs.
2. Your lifestyle
A daily routine jam-packed with positive habits, will really pay off when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep: fresh air, natural light, physical exercise as well as regular sleep patterns will all contribute to better sleep.
3. Your worries
A clear mind equals a better night’s sleep: avoid trying to block out thoughts (which can come back to bite you). Instead write a list of what’s on your mind or talk your problems out before your head hits the pillow.
4. Your diet
There are red flags to avoid for optimum sleep: caffeine is notorious for keeping you awake and should be off-limits at least five hours before your bedtime5 (night-workers especially should carefully consider the timings of their caffeine intake during their shifts).
Alcohol may make it easier for you to fall asleep, but as a result your time asleep is less effective6.
5. Your wind-down
Your pre-bed routine needs to be tailored to your own state of mind: some people find a warm bath, gentle yoga or meditation relaxing, whilst others swear by an embargo on phones, screens and news reports. The main thing is to find what works for you and stick to it.
Sleep diary: If you want to improve your sleep, try keeping a diary to help keep track of your daily routines and sleeping behaviours. After a couple of weeks, you might just uncover some habits or activities which are contributing to your lack of sleep.
This interactive sleep diary is designed to help you identify patterns in your daily routine, such as your caffeine and alcohol intake, bedtime routine and sleeping environment, which may affect your sleep.
The diary features 4 week's worth of diary pages, including questions about how your day was, followed by your night’s sleep that followed. Once completed, you'll have the opportunity to review, reflect and make positive changes to your day-to-day routine to help you improve your sleep.
Don't forget you have access to our complementary health and wellbeing app, SimplyMe. Covering five health categories: heart, mental health, sleep, weight and activity, it supports you in making positive changes. Click here to find out more about SimplyMe.
Sleep well – be well!
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