Rest easy: How to get a good night's sleep
Let us give you a helping hand so you can get an improved night's sleep.
Why is sleep so important?
Sleep is what biologists call a primary biological need, something that no animal can live without, like food and water.
Did you know that the average person spends 25 years asleep?
Your sleep patterns are very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- The brain does most of its housekeeping while we sleep
- Losing sleep has dramatic effects on our mental abilities and well-being. Sleep deprivation makes us moody and irritable, and impairs brain functions such as decision making
- Lack of sleep impairs the functioning of the immune system, making us more susceptible to infection
- Sleep is vital for learning and memory
- Sleep is vital for maintaining good overall brain health
- Prolonged periods of sleep deprivation can have severe consequences
Your sleep patterns are made up of cycles. You need to go through all the cycles to feel rested. Common sleep problems include:
- Problems getting to sleep - lying awake and not being able to fall asleep
- Problems staying asleep, for example waking up early in the morning
- Poor quality sleep - not feeling refreshed by the sleep you do get
|Steps to creating a good sleep routine:|
|Step 1||Go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday. This works to realign your circadian rhythm.|
|Step 2||Practice a relaxing bedtime routine conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from awake time. Your body is designed to be awake when its light and sleepy when its dark. False light tricks your brain into thinking it's time to be awake.|
Keep healthy, exercise daily and eat well balanced meals. This provides fuel for the bodies processes and gets essential hormones running through your body.
|Step 4||Look at your bedroom/sleep environment. Are their things there that are a distraction or keep your mind busy? Is it cluttered? Are their devices or other environment factors making noises that could disturb your sleep? Turn your mobile phone off whilst in bed.|
If you find you can’t get to sleep as your mind will not switch off, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired. If you have an unhealthy pattern of sleep whereby you are up late etc. it helps to work your way towards a better sleep time. So if you usually go to sleep at 3am – slowly make your way back, try a 2am bedtime – then a 1am bedtime and so on.
Remember a routine is a habit. A habit needs repetition to become ingrained. This takes time and commitment.
If you find you can’t go to sleep due to your mind not switching off, there are strategies to help overcome this. Your brain needs to make sense of the world and this can cause it to be overstimulated and disrupt sleep. The aim is not to deny or force the brain to ignore what it is processing but to train it to do this when it’s appropriate for you.