The Importance of Sleep

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again and again until this is all over….. we are in a weird situation.

I’ve spoken to lots of people over the past few months, and there have been a few common things that have been coming up in conversation.

Sleep has always been important, and it’s something I try and encourage clients to think about when things aren’t working the way they should.  It aids recovery and allows your body to repair, and extended sleep deficiency can be linked to an increase in heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.

Hands up who has had a poor night’s sleep since we’ve been in lockdown – if you don’t put up your hand, I think you’re in a very small minority of people.  I’ve found my sleep pattern has been really mixed.  Most of the time I can fall asleep fine but wake up numerous during the night, or wake early in the morning (making the days way longer than they normally are!).  Being tired can affect productivity, affect our mood and affect some of the decisions we make during the day.  Add this to the extra strain due to working from home, being in lockdown and attempting to “teach” children who would rather be at school, and then we can see how a lack of sleep can become a real problem.

It’s easy to say “get more sleep”, but harder to put into practise – sometimes getting into a good sleep routine can be achieved by things you do throughout the day.

Here are a few tips for you to try:

  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule – try and go to bed at a similar time each day.
  • Make sure your bed time allows you to get enough sleep – aim for 6 or 7 hours, so a bedtime needs to reflect this.
  • If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get back up – there’s nothing more frustrating that lying there, and not being able to sleep. To stop this, get back out of bed. Go back to bed once you are feeling sleepy.
  • Don’t eat too soon before bed – nothing to do with calorie absorption, more to do with feeling uncomfortable and trying to sleep.
  • Watch your caffeine intake – even caffeine consumed 6 hours before bed, can affect your quality of sleep.
  • Do a brain dump – writing down everything in your mind before you try and sleep can be really effective. Having a lot in your brain can stop you relaxing, but getting rid of it (even temporarily, because it will still be there for you to deal with in the morning!) can really help your quality of sleep, and the chances of waking up during the night are less.
  • Limit your alcohol – I know that I fall into a deep sleep when I’ve had a few too many glasses of wine, but I also know the quality of my sleep is really poor.

As with most things, these issues can take time to resolve and what works for one person may not work for someone else.

Let me know if you have any other top tips 🙂

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