Following the recent “Trust Me I am a Doctor” programme we realised from your response that sleep is a big issue for many of you.
Good quality sleep is not just about looking and feeling good the next day. Our sleep time is the body’s opportunity to do its repair work. If we do not get good sleep our immune system will not be working to its best ability.
Ongoing lack of sleep is associated with chronic conditions such as
- Heart problems
Another issue is that lack of sleep can lead to loss of libido. Whilst we all joke about this issue a healthy sex drive is an important part of a healthy and well balanced person. It supports our self-esteem and releases positive hormones to make us feel good. Watch out for the blog on this subject next week!
The prelude to diabetes could start with the craving for sweets which is driven by your need for instant energy when you are tired. How many times have you reached for a sweet to boost your energy? If this becomes a habit you could be on your way to blood sugar fluctuations and ultimately diabetes.
Sleep issues often relate to stress. We have all been there, life has been difficult and our sleep has been affected. The lack of sleep can make us irrational and irritable. Our ability to make decisions is compromised and we cannot cope with normal everyday tasks. Life just becomes too much. Taken to its extremes this can lead to mental health issues and depression.
Many people now find themselves sleep deprived. Our busy lives mean that more people are finding themselves in this position. If this is the case there is a need for a major lifestyle re think.
What can you do?
- Identify where the stress is being generated and change the situation
- Take time to think – are you just on automatic pilot? Has your life become a series of habits that you haven’t questioned for a while? If this is the case take some time to review your life
- When did you last have a holiday? Regular holidays help us replenish ourselves and give us that vital ‘time out’
- If you have worries talk to someone about them don’t keep it to yourself
- If you are overloaded can you get help either from a partner, family member or an employee?
On a daily level consider the following:
- Prioritise relaxation for at least an hour before bed
- What about some deep breathing exercises?
- Try muscle tension releasing exercises or perhaps some yoga or meditation
- No horror films or books just before sleep!
- Put the electronics away – you can catch up in the morning
- Eat sensibly limit the stimulating foods and drinks such as
- Chocolate and sugary products
- Spicy food
- Ensure your bedroom is a haven for sleep
- Black out curtains or blinds prevent the light seeping in too early
- A comfortable mattress is essential
- How long since you changed your pillow?
- Is your partner a snorer? Do they need help? As much as it is a common joke sleep issues can damage relationships
- Write down anything you need to get off your mind. Prepare your to do list for the next day.
- Exercise – although many people do more than ever before some still don’t exercise at all. Find a balance that works for you.
- Think like a dog and do what comes naturally!
Each person has their own sleep requirement typically it will be 8 -9 hours for most people. Some manage on less but some need more. If you wake up feeling lethargic and under par the chances are you are not sleeping long enough and not getting quality sleep.
If you still need some help there are some further suggestions for you:
- Take a magnesium supplement two hours before bedtime
- Drink a chamomile tea (Clipper, Dr Stuarts, Teapigs, Pukka) or other bedtime drink in the evening
- On a short term basis there are natural sleep aids to get you through a difficult patch (Dormeasan, Good Night, Melissa Dream)
- Eat a wholegrain snack or fibre in the evening if you are prone to waking hungry
- Use some lavender oil – put drops on a tissue and tuck inside your pillow case. Alternatively, use one of our lovely diffusers so the aroma wafts around your room lulling you into a gentle sleep.
Wishing you sweet dreams!
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