The secret to a great night’s sleep.
Do you want to wake up feeling enthusiastic for the day ahead, refreshed, your energy levels renewed and ready to face the day?
It all starts with a good night sleep.
Struggling to get a good night’s sleep, feeling anxious about going to bed and the “pressure” to sleep are common problems. But you will spend almost 1/3 of your life sleeping, so it’s vital to make it count!
Why a good night’s sleep matters:
Sleep not only makes you feel less tired but also is fundamental for your overall health and wellbeing.
A good night’s sleep can help to:
- Improve mood an concentration
- Manage stress and your emotions better
- Improve your enjoyment of social activities
- Regulate you metabolism and weight
- Boost your sex drive and fertility
- Reduce your risk of high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers
Without proper sleep you may find yourself snapping at your partner or kids, not having the motivation to go to the gym or go out for that run or avoiding social arrangements.
Getting a good night’s sleep is fundamental to enjoying life, with greater enthusiasm, and having the energy to do the things that really matter to you.
Our easy to follow guide is here to help you work out if you’re getting enough sleep, how good the quality of your sleep is and how you can improve it.
Are you getting enough sleep?
Adults need about 7-9 hours a night, but it needs to be good quality. If you answer yes to any of these questions – you might need to follow our guide to getting better quality sleep and more of it.
If you answered yes to several or most of these questions above, you probably aren’t getting enough sleep. So what can you do to improve this?
Top 10 Tips for getting good night’s sleep:
1. Stick to a regular sleep regime by going to bed at the same time each night and waking in the morning at a similar time each day, avoiding daytime naps.
2. Exercise regularly – doing regular exercise improves your ability to sleep, as long as it’s not too close to bed time.
3. Watch what you eat and drink –the consumption of too much caffeine, alcohol and sugar, as well as having heavy meals and drinking lots of fluid before bed can stop you from getting a good night’s sleep.
4. Manage you stress levels – the pressures of day to day life all gets to us at times and developing good strategies to manage stress and worry can be useful in helping you to switch off at night. (see our previous blogs on mindfulness or speak to your GP about Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or counselling if you are struggling to cope with your stress)
5. Make your bedroom sleep friendly – remove TVs and electronic gadgetry, shut out light and noise.
Keep your bedroom cool and well ventilated. Get a good mattress. (see our blog on choosing a mattress).
If you are a shift worker, blackout blinds or sleep masks can be useful. If you have a partner who snores you can try ear plugs (silicon ones are brilliant – talking from extensive research and experience!!)
6. Develop a relaxing bedtime routine – avoid use of screens, work, and stress late at night Write a ‘to do’ list and clear your mind. Relax in a warm bath, , practice relaxation exercises – such as gentle
yoga or mindfulness exercises, read a book – NOT on your tablet ! Listen to relaxing music or even put a few drops of essentials oils like lavender on your pillow!7. Red light promotes the production of hormones that make you feel sleepy, so try switching your bedside lamp to a red / orange bulb.
8. Are you in pain? Pain is a common issue that can stop you from getting a good night’s sleep. You might be struggling to get comfortable or wake when you move or turn over, because it hurts.
We can help you to feel better and sleep more comfortably, free from pain. Call us on 0161 4781877 or book on line now, so you can start sleeping better.
9. Do you wake with headaches? You might be clenching or grinding your teeth at night. This is often a sign of stress and tension. Take a look at our blog on jaw pain and see if this could be you.
10. Take a warm bath. When you get out of the bath your core temperature drops a little and this helps to induce hormones that promote sleepiness.
NOTE: SOME CAUSES SLEEP DISTURBANCES OR INSOMNIA MAY BE A SYMPTOM OF ANOTHER HEALTH ISSUE OR A SIDE EFFECT OF SOME MEDICATIONS. IF YOU HAVE PERSISTENT ISSUES, SPEAK WITH YOUR GP TO RULE OUT ANY MEDICAL CAUSES OF YOUR SLEEP PROBLEMS.
Still not feeling sleepy?
If you need more help with relaxation, try to incorporate some of these relaxation techniques into you bedtime routine, to help you get a good night’s sleep.
The 4-7-8 breathing technique
When practiced regularly, the view is that we can gain control of our breathing and get into a deep state of deep relaxation, which can assist getting us to fall asleep quicker
The technique forces us to focus on regular breathing rather than focussing on distracting thoughts. It is believed that this process can down regulate our fight-or-flight responses that we can feel when we are stressed or anxious assisting in getting our bodies into a relaxed state.
You can do this sitting or lying.
• Gently rest the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth behind your top front teeth.
• The breathing cycle:
1. Let your lips part. Make a whooshing sound, breathing out completely through your mouth.
2. Close your lips, breathe in silently through your nose as you count to 4 in your head.
3. Then, hold your breath for 7 seconds.
4. Make another whooshing out breath from your mouth for 8 seconds.
5. When you inhale again, you initiate a new cycle of breath. Practice this for four full breaths. Once you you’ve mastered it, then work up to 8 breath cycles.
For more information and advice take a look at these links:
https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/what-circadian-rhythm https://www.dreams.co.uk/sleepmatters-club/your-life-in-numbers-infographic/ https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-reasonswhy-good-sleep-is-important#section1 https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivationand-deficiency https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/how-to-get-to-sleep/ https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/healthy-sleep-tips-for-children/
https://sleepcouncil.org.uk https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/sleep-needs-get-the-sleepyou-need.htm/ https://www.helpguide.org/harvard/biology-of-sleep-circadian-rhythms-sleepstages.htm https://www.healthline.com/health/4-7-8-breathing#1 https://sleepopolis.com/education/circadian-rhythm/ https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/sleep-hygiene