The value of sleep is something we are all keenly aware of.
Miss a little? And you can become short tempered and less focused.
Miss a lot? You could end up with some serious health problems.
Combine that with the usual trails and tribulations of life, the worries and stresses, which, in recent times, have seemed to magnify, and you realise that with all these things working against us in our attempts at getting a good night’s sleep we must do what we can to balance that out.
The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) provides advice on how to get a good night’s sleep which can help create that balance.
According to them there are 4 pillars to getting a good sleep.
Your health, environment, attitude and lifestyle.
A good night’s sleep is considered to be between 7 and 9 hours although it varies from individual to individual.
When we don’t get that ‘we compromise on our sleep, we compromise on our performance, our mood, and our interpersonal relationships’.
Obviously your physical and mental health is going to affect your ability to sleep.
From something as small as a blocked nose to a debilitating recurring pain, or even depression or some other mental health issue, there are many health factors that could come into play.
If you are suffering from any health issue, even if it isn’t affecting your sleep, it is always advised to seek professional medical help.
There are a few common environmental factors which can affect our sleep.
The level of noise, the temperature, the lighting, and how comfortable we are.
When these factors are at their best a good night’s sleep may be more forthcoming.
To control noise you might wear earplugs, temperature may be adjusted using a thinner or thicker duvet, lighting, if beyond your control, may be negated by wearing a blind fold.
And being comfortable? A really good mattress would do.
Having the right attitude or frame of mind can help you get to sleep.
I’m sure there are many of us who have failed to sleep simply because of worry.
It might have been worry over something very real, or it might have been worry over something that then didn’t happen.
Regardless, the outcome was the same. No sleep for us.
There are various options around to try and help you attain the best frame of mind.
You could try relaxation methods like getting a massage or simply having a bath before bedtime.
You could also try meditation and mindfulness.
Some people find that aromatherapy helps. It’s about finding what works best for you.
For bigger issues, like mental health, you must seek out a professional.
Only they will be able to work with you to find out the best way to tackle your thoughts.
Living the right lifestyle is more important than ever.
Chief amongst this is diet and exercise.
However, there is another more recent phenomena, which must be controlled also.
The use of electronics.
While the MHF advocates eating the right foods like rice, oats and dairy products which can produce chemicals that increase our desire to sleep, we should also avoid eating or drinking stimulants like tea, coffee, or chocolate, too late in the day.
Exercise also helps as when your body feels physically tired when you go to bed at night it is much easier to relax and fall asleep
The use of electronics is a more modern issue when it comes to sleep disruption as the backlit ‘blue light’ display typically suppresses your melatonin production which is vital for sleep.
It is recommended by the MHF that ‘you should stop using these devices two hours before you go to sleep to reduce their impact on your sleeping’.
Sleeping is important.
And in this hectic world getting a good night’s sleep is as important as ever.
That will never change.
It is up to us to make sure we get the right amount of sleep we require.