|Blog Article|||||By Liggy Webb||5 March 2021|
The world is evolving at such a fast pace and living through a pandemic against the backdrop of the fourth industrial revolution has certainly had a big impact on our overall lifestyle. So much has changed including our working habits, hobbies and also the way we socialise. We are also experiencing heightened anxiety levels caused by living with so much disruption and uncertainty. All in all, this can really take its toll on the quality of our sleep and this in turn influences our overall mood and ability to cope well.
The amount of sleep people need is unique to each individual. This will vary with our level of activity and the amount of energy we exert throughout the day. How much sleep we actually require will also vary throughout our lifetime depending on our age and circumstances.
Understanding how much sleep we personally need and ensuring we maintain quality levels of sleep are key factors to supporting our health and wellbeing. It is also worth bearing in mind that stress levels can increase when the length and quality of sleep decreases. Developing healthy habits around sleep can help us to feel better able to cope in the current climate and deal well with the challenges we are facing.
1. Create a sanctuary for sleep
Here are five useful tips to create an environment that is conducive for sleep:
Ideally your bedroom needs to be somewhere that you associate with sleep. Wherever possible, remove distractions. It is far better to watch TV, check social media and eat in another room. This will allow you to fully relax.
An increasing amount of sleep advice suggests keeping technology out of the bedroom altogether. The backlit 'blue light' displays on some gadgets suppress melatonin production which is the hormone that helps you sleep. The suppression of melatonin can cause sleep disruption during the night too so the sooner you switch off technology before you go to sleep, the better.
2. Keep regular sleeping hours
Your circadian rhythm is a 24-hour internal clock that you have that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It functions on a set loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset. Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid long-term sleep quality. Irregular sleep patterns can alter your circadian rhythm and levels of melatonin, which signal your brain to sleep.
If you struggle with your sleep, get in the habit of waking up and going to bed at similar times. After several weeks, you may not even need an alarm.
3. Relax before you sleep
There are lots of things that you can do to relax before you go to bed. Here are some top tips for relaxation:
4. Offload your worries
When you have things on your mind that are perhaps making you anxious it is best to get them off your chest. Lying in bed and festering about things that may have upset you and playing them over and over in your mind can build up unnecessary stress.
A useful tip is to write down what is on your mind and create a cons and pros list. First of all, write down what is bothering you and then flip it over and think about a positive solution or identify the potential opportunity in the situation. It is also good to keep a gratitude journal and write down three things at the end of the day that were positive highlights. By focusing on these before you go to sleep you will drift off in a positive and happy frame of mind.
5. Avoid clock watching
Worrying about getting enough sleep can itself stop you sleeping. The best way to deal with this is to remind yourself that resting in bed and focusing on positive and pleasant thoughts is more productive than tossing and turning and looking at your alarm clock every few minutes.
If you find you simply cannot sleep then get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again, then go back to bed. If lack of sleep is persistent and it is affecting your daily life in a negative way it may be advisable to book an appointment to see your doctor, naturopath or a sleep specialist.
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