Sleep

Sleep

This information is designed to help people to adopt a healthier lifestyle through taking some simple steps. It includes why changes should be made and the support available to help achieve it. Here we are looking at the importance of sleep.

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Problems with sleep that last a long time (chronic) can have a negative impact on our health, lifestyle, motivation and aspirations. It can also cause stress and anxiety.

Here are a few simple tips to help:

Create a routine - aim to go to bed and get up at the same time each day, even at the weekends.

Exercise is good for sleep - but try not to do vigorous exercise before you go to bed. Gentle stretching is fine and will encourage your body and mind to wind down.

Get outside as much as possible - fresh air and natural light can help with circadian rhythm, our natural body clock.

Sleep loves the quiet and the dark - avoid using your phone and watching TV in the bedroom as the light interferes with our REM (deeper) sleep.

Avoid screen time - the hour before you try to go to sleep as it can delay your sleepiness as it suppresses your melatonin levels (hormone that helps to control the body's sleep cycle.

Alcohol, nicotine and caffeine - before bed these tend to have a negative impact on the quality of sleep.

Eat healthily - avoid a heavy meal just before bed. Fatty and sugary foods quickly boost our energy and can cause indigestion which will keep you awake.

Need a wee? - try to reduce the amount of liquid you drink about two hours before bed.

If you do wake up in the middle of the night, try some simple mindfulness techniques like this one:

All you have to do is be still and focus on your breath for just one minute.

Start by breathing in and out slowly. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, letting your breath flow effortlessly in and out of your body.

As we sleep we lay down new memories so think about all the good things that have happened in the day and drift off….

NHS Webpage for sleep

The Sleep Charity Website