From newborns to the elderly, the importance of a good night’s sleep is never lost. The Dalai Lama describes sleep as “the best meditation” and although there is still a shroud of mystery surrounding what exactly happens to us when we nod off, there is no denying the importance of sleep in maintaining good mental and physical health.
Although the figures vary slightly from person to person The National Sleep Foundation suggests that the average adult should aim for 7-9 hours sleep per night. But the reality is that many people struggle with their sleep, leading to a number of mental and physical problems. The Great British Sleep Survey shed some light on just how difficult a good night’s sleep is to achieve for the people of Britain. The survey found that 51.3% of Britons struggle to get to sleep, with women three times more likely to struggle than men.
The potential implications of a lack of sleep are staggering. At the more extreme end of the scale a lack of sleep can result in motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters and occupational errors. But a lack of sleep can also cause problems on a smaller, perhaps less noticeable scale. Of the 11,129 adults surveyed as part of The Great British Sleep Survey 55% reported having relationship difficulties as a result of a lack of sleep, while 77% reported issues of concentration, 64% said they were less productive at work, 83% reported problems with their mood and 93% with energy levels.
But for many sufferers counting sheep or having a glass of warm milk will not be the solution to the problem. Listed below are some helpful and easy to try out pieces of advice that may improve your night’s sleep.
- Relax. Rushing into bed with a million thoughts running through your mind is not going to help you get to sleep. Take some time to settle into a relaxed state, you may wish to use relaxing audio aids or aromatherapy to ease you into a good nights sleep.
- The Bedroom is for Sleep. Keep this in mind and you may see a marked improvement in your sleep. Remove and avoid televisions in the bedroom, the bright light of a television is very distracting when trying to nod off.
- Watch what you eat and drink. Drinks high in caffeine such as tea and coffee will stay in your system for hours, avoid drinking them a few hours before you plan to sleep.
- Invest in a heavy weighted blanket for sleep, they provide a cuddly hug type feeling that subtly helps the body relax. Ideal for restless sleepers.
- Routine. Get into the habit of going to bed and waking up at roughly the same times every day, even on the weekends. This helps develop your body clock to become aware of these times.
If you are still finding it difficult to fall asleep it is advisable to visit a specialist to help you in developing a healthy sleeping routine.