10 Ways to Drastically Improve Your Sleep
It seems we're a nation of bad sleepers.
And while our bad humour and constant yawning may seem like the worst side effect, the reality is that sleep deprivation can lead to depression, diabetes and is associated with some cancers.
For this reason, Saint John of God Hospital, one of the leading providers of mental health treatment and care services in Ireland and Europe, is has announced a free public lecture on how to get some sleep.
Geraldine Corr, Nurse Practice Development Manager at Saint John of God will host the lecture and spoke to us about the practical steps we can undertake to get some shut eye.
According to Geraldine, although we spend up to one-third of our lives sleeping, we tend to undervalue just how important sleep is to both our physical, and our mental health.
“Sleep is vital to our well –being,” says Geraldine. “It is our body’s time to rejuvenate and prepare us for the day ahead. While we sleep, our body focuses on body and brain tissue regeneration, energy conservation and memory reinforcement. If we do not get enough sleep, or have a disturbed sleeping pattern, our body does not have the chance to do these important tasks. When this happens over a prolonged period of time, the results can be detrimental to our well-being. A good night’s sleep is very important to good physical and mental health and yet the demands of modern life shorten more and more the time for sleep.”
Each persons’ sleep requirements are different and there is no set rule of thumb as to how much sleep each person needs, however, in general, anything less than six hours per night for an adult would be unadvisable explains Geraldine. “Many busy people declare -and indeed often pride themselves on the low amount of sleep they need – often sleeping only four of five hours a night. This can have a real impact on a person’s health and is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity as well as psychological problems such as depression, which can be brought on when our bodies are out of sync with the 24-hour circadian.”
Geraldine shared this advice for readers:
Support Your Internal Clock
Stick to a consistent schedule, even on weekends, holidays and days off
Limit, and even try and eradicate daytime naps
See the Light
Spend time outside each day and expose yourself to as much natural light during the day as possible
Turn off all appliances late at night – that means no late night Netflix binges or I phones in bed!
Darken Your Room
Invest in blackout blinds or curtains to ensure a dark sleeping space. If you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet, keep light at a minimum
Pay Attention to What You Eat and Drink
Don’t go to bed too hungry or full and avoid caffeine and alcohol in the hours before sleep. Nicotine is also a stimulant so try and avoid smoking before bedtime.
Studies show regular physical activity can promote better sleep. It helps you fall asleep faster, and to enjoy a deeper sleep.
Block the Clock
Keep any time showing objects out of the bedroom. As long as your alarm is set, there is no need to see the clock ticking away from your bed. It can cause anxiety and stress when we can’t fall asleep and begin to do the maths on how much ‘sleep time’ we have left
Get Out of Bed
If you struggle to fall asleep and get restless, try getting out of bed and doing a non-stimulating activity such as reading. Again, remember to keep lights low and noise down.
Visit Your GP
Sleep is essential for mental and physical well-being. If you are going without quality sleep for an extended period of time, talk to your GP. Most sleep disturbed patterns are short-term and easily managed when approached head-on.
The Lecture Series will take place from 8.00pm to 9.30pm on Monday evenings in the Saint John of God Hospital on the Stillorgan Road, Dublin from Monday, 4th April to Monday, 25th April. Members of the general public; health professionals and the media are welcome to attend the Lecture Series. Pre-registration is not required.