Are you getting enough? I mean sleep of course!
We’re told throughout our lives that everything seems better after a good night’s rest. That might not be entirely true, but everything certainly seems worse when you’re exhausted. So it really is important to make sure you get enough sleep.
But how much is enough? I’m assuming most people reading this are aged between 18 and 65. According to the Sleep Council people in that age range function best on seven to nine hours per day. Above that age you may be happy with a little less. And while missing the odd hour now and again isn’t likely to cause you any great harm, long-term sleep loss can make you forgetful, moody, depressed and irritable (as well as tired).
So it’s really important that you get the right amount of good quality sleep.
Tips for better sleep
- Make sure your bedroom is a comfortable, welcoming place. Keep it at a cool temperature around 16-18° C (60-65° F). Try to get it completely dark – or wear an eye mask. And keep technology out. Not only does having a computer or your mobile phone in the room tempt you to use it, the blue light they emit can interfere with restful sleep.
- Choose the right kind of mattress for your needs. It should be firm enough to support your spine while still moulding to the contours of your body.
- Try to keep to a regular routine, going to bed and getting up at the same time every day.
- Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime. And try not to overdo fluids at night to stop your sleep from being interrupted by trips to the loo.
- Try to put your daytime worries to one side when you get into bed. Easier said than done, I know. One trick is to imagine putting them all into a box that you can open again in the morning.
- While an empty groaning stomach probably won’t help you sleep, try not to eat too close to bedtime. Struggling to digest a heavy meal is likely to keep you awake.
- Try to maintain a moderate level of exercise during the day, but avoid it late at night.
- If you’re struggling to sleep you can help yourself by relaxing your body, either by progressive muscle relaxation or breathing techniques. I’ll explain these in another blog.
- If you’re not asleep after 20 minutes, it might be worth getting up for a while. Do something non-stimulating like listening to music (not Black Sabbath!) or reading until you feel sleepy again.
After a good night’s sleep you should wake up feeling relaxed and refreshed. You may not feel like leaping out of bed, but you’ll know that you are, in fact, ready to face the day.