Many of us experience problems sleeping at some stage in our lives and it can have a huge impact on our work and personal lives. So what can we do to ensure we get more sleep?
Keeping a routine of when you go to sleep and when you wake up will help programme your body into a sleep pattern. Routine here is crucial as your brain will start to know it has to prepare the body for sleep.
Ensure your bedroom is conducive to sleep, by this we mean it should be quiet, the right temperature for sleep and the lighting should be right. For most people a dark, quiet and cool environment is the most conducive to sleep. In addition do make sure your bed is comfortable, is your mattress too old?
Exercise can help induce good sleep as it can help relieve any tension you may experience during the day. On the other hand try not to work out too close to bedtime as it could prevent you unwinding.
Caffeine can, as recent research highlights, bring many health benefits but too much caffeine close to bedtime can interrupt our ability to get to sleep. Try to not have any caffeine close to bedtime, this includes coffee, tea and of course energy drinks which often contain a lot of caffeine.
Alcohol can disrupt sleep and the nicotine in smoking can act as a stimulant so if you can, for other health reasons, try to give up smoking or at least reduce your cigarettes before sleep.
Try to relax before bedtime. Ideas which can work include having a bath, listening to music or performing some yoga. You could also do some breathing exercises which will help you relax. People have also reported that meditation can help them sleep.
Knowing what is affecting your sleep is key to putting it right. If you keep a sleep diary you may be able to pinpoint what the causes of your poor sleep are. Record in your diary what you eat and drink each day and any exercise you do.
Bright screens that you will get from your laptop, tablet and phones have been linked to poor sleep. Try to reduce screen time before bed and consider removing your mobile from the bedroom so you won’t hear it pinging at night and be tempted to access messages.
If you frequently have sleep issues then you may be suffering from a sleep disorder. In many cases what underlays many disorders is another health issue. This could for example be an allergy or an upper respiratory infection which affects your breathing at night. Frequently needing to urinate during the night can also be due to hormonal imbalance or there could be another medical reason for this. If you experience any bleeding or pain when you urinate do see your doctor straight away.
Chronic pain can also cause a sleep disorder. This can be due to a condition like arthritis where the pain prevents you getting any sleep. Stress and anxiety can also lead to a sleep disorder.
You may have heard of some of these but they include:
This is the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep. This is further classified as chronic, intermittent or transient. If untreated it can cause depression, irritability and difficulty working.
This is a really serious medical condition that means you pause in your breathing during sleep. This means you do not take in adequate oxygen at night.
This is all about movement and behaviour like sleepwalking, sleep talking, nightmares and teeth grinding.
This is as the name suggests a need to move your leg, thus disrupting your sleep.
This is a disorder that cause you to fall asleep during the day, in fact these episodes are called ‘sleep attacks’ and can literally cause people who one minute are wide awake to suddenly fall asleep.