Our sleep can be affected by a number of factors, including, stress at work; holidays; out-of-routine days/evenings; over-indulgence; and later bedtimes…is it any wonder why we might fail to achieve a good night’s sleep?! Read on to find out how you can improve your sleep.
WHY DON’T PEOPLE FOLLOW ADVICE ON GETTING A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP?
Sleep, or lack of it, is a major contributory factor to depression. Unlike mental health difficulties, sleep is a subject that we are happy to talk about and let’s be honest, moan about. Because we’re generally okay in sharing information on how tired we are, on being awake at 4am, and how unrested we feel, it means that we can learn from others and share our tips on getting a better night’s sleep. More often than not, however, we reject advice, don’t give any changes we do implement a chance to work, and jump to the conclusion that this is the norm and we should just accept it.
Take note though, that sometimes strategies, new ways of doing things and new routines take time to take effect, and we should not be under any illusion that it isn’t hard work. We may be in a different point in our lives where we’re more amenable to changing our habits or have someone who is supportive of that change, and whom helps us carry it through. As change happens in the mind first, just by deciding to improve your sleep is a good step.
HOW MUCH SLEEP?
Poor sleep can occur at any stage of our lives and can differ on a day to day basis. There are guidelines of the amount of sleep most people need. Generally, it’s between 7 and 9 hours for 18 years plus, and more for 18 years and under. Getting into the habit of retiring to bed and getting up at the same time every day is a good start and helps improve your sleep.
WHAT’S STOPPING YOU GETTING A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP?
Often the conditions perfect for achieving a good night’s sleep are absent. We don’t sleep alone or sleep in a house that’s quiet; and we can be woken up by our dogs barking in the night, our children crying and our partners snoring. We are bombarded by reminders on our phones to play game apps, and by text messages. We also lead busy lives which might be a cause of stress, and can also interfere with our sleep.
It is more apparent than ever that people engage in activities that are considered by sleep experts to interfere with sleep, such as, social media using technological devices like our phones up to an hour before bedtimes; watching TV up to lights out’ and having light and loud noise sources in our bedroom.
With the loss of routine in holidays often comes disturbed sleep. Instead of having lie ins, you might want to keep your alarm active through the holidays and apart from the occasional late night, keep to a similar bedtime. Why not give it a try? What have you got to lose but improve your sleep?
So what can you do about it?
TOP TIPS FOR GETTING A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
- Aim to go to bed and rise at the same time every day
- Have a set routine: prepare your bag/equipment/lunch for the next day
- Turn off social media devices at least an hour before your bedtime
- Don’t drink or eat within 2 hours of your bedtime
- Ensure your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet
- Turn mobile phones onto aeroplane mode as the waves can interfere with your sleep