…and so to sleep perchance to dream…
What you should do:
In General adults need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night. The odd night of less will just leave you feeling tired the next day. However an ongoing lack of sleep may affect you both mentally and physically.
To sleep well…
1. Stick to a schedule.
Try to go to bed at around about the same time every day, even on weekends and days off. Consistency is the key. If you are still awake after 15 minutes of retiring to bed however, get up and do something relaxing. or try relaxing the body down. see Meditation.
2. What to eat and drink before bedtime.
Do not eat too much or too little. You’ve heard it all before, avoid nicotine and caffeine – preferably after pm. and limit alcohol, which can make you feel tired and drowsy at first but can wreak havoc on your quality of sleep and disrupt it later in the night.
3. Bedtime ritual.
Keep it simple and make sure it is transferable. i.e. not reliant on your home so travelling does not become a problem.
4. Make your surrounding conducive to sleep.
make sure your surroundings are cool dark and quiet. Have a comfortable mattress and pillow. If you share your bed, make sure it is big enough. `if you share your bed with children or pets try to set limits. I relish my children sleeping with me. when one of my twins is wanting to share the bed with me, my husband swaps to her ben and her twin sleeps on a futon next to my bed. If my husband is away – well there is a rota of course…and long may it last.
5. Daytime naps.
Absolutely fine and sometimes essential. just do not nap for too long as this can make you feel drowsy and groggy. I set the alarm for 20 minutes from anticipated top off time… certainly no longer than 30 minutes. If you keep these to mid afternoon, they should prove very refreshing and beneficial.
6. Physical activity.
It goes without saying that regular physical activity is good for you in many ways including promoting better sleep. It helps you to fall asleep faster and to enjoy a deeper sleep.. Try not to excretes too close to bedtime as you amy become too energised to fall asleep.
7. Manage stress.
Stress can be extremely detrimental to sleep. when you have all your life and to do lists and issues and concerns buzzing around your head it is very difficult to switch off. Try to get organised and tick something/s off your “to do list” every do so you feel like (and are) making progress. Prioritise. Jot down urgent jobs for the next day and rest knowing that tomorrow they will be tackled full on.
If you have a problem setting things aside try this simple meditation technique :
As things pop in to your head, imagine placing them into a box, closing the lid, tying the box with a piece of ribbon – choose our favourite colour – and mentally walk the box to the door, open it, place the box outside and close the door. Repeat until the issue and any new issues are all “outside the door”
Do not ignore the detail, the ribbon, the colour of the ribbon, these all help diffuse the anxiety surrounding the issue. Th acceptance and temporary removal of the issue is far more attainable and acceptable to our brain than denial, which can become a sleep depriving battle in itself.
The importance of sleep is becoming more understood and widely acknowledged. The demands on our lives – jobs, family etc can make it difficult to find time to relax and precious sleep hours become scarce even though we know it makes you feel better. But did you know it has far wider reaching health benefits, for example your heart, weight and mind. It is vital to your well-being.
Apart from making you feeling rested
During the night your brain and body don’t just shut down at night. Internal organs and processes are hard at work throughout the night. A sleep expert and neuroscientist Dr. Merrill Mitlr says.
I know from experience that when I am tired I can’t function at my best. Sleep helps me think more clearly, have quicker reflexes and focus better.
“The fact is, when we look at well rested people, they are operating at a a different level than people trying to get by on 1 or 2 hours less nightly sleep” says Mitler.
Sleep isn’t just essential for the brain, it affect every tissue in our bodies. When we are asleep our bodies fix heal and build. Sleep affects stress and growth hormones, our immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure and cardiovascular health.
Research has shown that lack of sleep can increase the risk for obesity, heart disease and infections. Ongoing research shows a lack of sleep can produce diabetic-like condition in otherwise healthy people” says Mitler.