There’s no better feeling than waking up after a good night’s sleep. But, for many of us, it’s a luxury rarely enjoyed. A survey conducted by the Sleep Council for National Sleep Awareness Week [March 3-10] found that just 30 per cent of us get more than seven hours’ sleep per night, with more than a quarter of British people experiencing poor quality sleep on a regular basis. The research also discovered that the amount of people getting just five to six hours’ sleep has increased dramatically in the past three years, rising to a third of people – compared to 26 per cent in 2010.
So what’s keeping us up at night? Well, in today’s tough economic climate, a staggering 47 per cent of all questioned say they’re just too stressed to sleep.
But getting a good night’s rest can work wonders for your health and wellbeing.
For starters, the expression ‘sleep on it’ really does ring true. Sleep boosts your concentration levels in the day and improves your learning and problem solving capabilities, making issues that appear impossible to fix clear in the morning.
It can also reduce inflammatory proteins in the blood. Inflammation is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and premature ageing and, according to a 2010 study, those who get six or less hours a night have higher levels of these proteins than those who get more.
If you struggle to get a good night’s sleep, then here are some top tips from the Sleep Council to help you on your way to the land of nod:
- Keep regular hours – go to bed and get up at roughly the same time everyday to help programme your body to sleep better
- Create a restful sleeping environment which is quiet, dark and not too hot or cold
- Take more exercise to relieve stresses and strains. But don’t exercise too close to bedtime or it could keep you awake.
- Cut down on stimulants such as caffeine in tea or coffee
- Don’t over-indulge in food or alcohol, especially late at night, just before bedtime
- Deal with worries or a heavy workload by making lists of things to be tackled the next day
As published on westfieldhealth.com