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Festival of Sleep Day

Have you had a restful and relaxing festive period? Many of us will not have done so despite it being a holiday period. But fear not, 3 January is the Festival of Sleep Day. With New Year falling on a weekend for many of us this is the last day of the holiday period before plunging back into the chaos of normal work and family life. So take some time to catch up on sleep.

The fundamentals of sleep are timeless and largely stay the same regardless of social convention, fashion or technology. Sleeping is the body’s time to rest and restore itself. Insufficient sleep will affects your mental and physical well-being. It’s also an incredibly effective way to help you deal with stress, recover from illness and, even, to creatively solve problems. As Thomas Dekker (English Elizabethan era Writer) said, “Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together”.

Sleep comprises of several stages – Awake, Light sleep, Deep sleep and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. It is during REM sleep when we have our most vivid dreams and is very important for memory and mood. We are lightly asleep for most of our night sleep and it promotes restoration. Deeper sleep supports learning and memory. If you wake feeling especially refreshed, it’s likely you got lots of deep sleep.

In these modern, busy, times it’s not always easy to get a good night’s sleep. So, here are some tips that might help. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule – go to bed at roughly the same time each night. The more active you are during the day, the better night’s sleep you will have. Avoid alcohol, stimulants (such as caffeine), sugar and too much fluid before sleep. Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, comfortable, not too warm and well ventilated.

Finally, a word about light. Accurate time keeping using clocks, watches and mobile devices is a very recent invention in turns of human development. The Circadian Rhythms of our bodies pick up cues from the environment to determine what time of day it is and what activities to carry out. Getting the wrong cues can fool the body into thinking its time to wake up when you want to sleep.

So, try to make sure you are exposed to sunlight during the day and especially early in the morning. Expose yourself to nature light as much as possible during the day. Make sure your sleep area is as dark as possible. Try not to put the light on if you wake in the night for any reason. Avoid artificial light and blue light (such as from mobile phones and computers) especially before bed time. This light trick the body into thinking its dawn and suppresses the release of melatonin (an important sleep hormone).

Hypnotherapy can help with sleeplessness and other sleep disorders. If you or someone you know needs help with this contact me.

Sleepless

Is there a yawning gap in your life?

This year marks the 14th annual World Sleep Day. It’s on March 19, 2021 and has the slogan, “Regular Sleep, Healthy Future.”

The importance of good quality sleep cannot be underestimated.  Especially when you think we spend up to a third of our lives asleep. You might think that time spent sleeping is not productive or useful, but that is far from the case. We restore ourselves while sleeping and remove metabolic waste that build up while activity. Also, studies suggest that a lack of proper sleep impairs the body’s ability to repair and heal wounds.

It is widely accepted that sleep plays an important role in memory, learning and other physiologic processes. It is thought it enables the formation of long-term memories and increases the ability to learn new information and recall it. It is also involved in the control of inflammation, hormone regulation, cardiovascular regulation and many other critical functions.  Put simply, sleep underpins our health, as well as our physical and mental wellbeing. Good quality sleep is crucial to ensure good health and quality of life.

Problems with sleep are very common. The Philips Index for Health and Well-being found that 35% of people do not feel they get enough sleep and that it impacts either our physical or mental health. Let’s not forget that sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture and a lack of sleep can cause many psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety and, in extreme cases, psychosis. Longer term effects are being studied, but poor quality sleep or sleep deprivation are associated with significant health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, a weakened immune system and even some forms of cancers.

To help you here are some useful tips for better sleep.

  1. Try to go to bed and awake up in the morning at about the same time. A good sleep routine helps to signal to your body when to sleep and wake up.
  2. Try not to sleep in the day and if you do make it for less than an hour.
  3. Avoid alcohol consumption for four hours and caffeine for six hours before bedtime. Remember, caffeine does not just mean coffee. There is a lot of caffeine in tea, cola drinks and some other soft drinks, such as Red Bull.
  4. Smoking is bad for you anyway, but not smoking will help with sleep problems.
  5. Avoid a large meal or spicy food for four hours before bedtime. If you must eat, a small meal or snack before bed is fine.
  6. Avoid sugary foods for four hours before bedtime. Unfortunately, chocolate is doubly bad as it contains caffeine and sugar.
  7. Try to exercise regularly, but not immediately before bedtime.
  8. Make sure your bed and bedding is comfortable.
  9. Think about what is a comfortable temperature for the bedroom and try to keep it well ventilated.
  10. Block out or eliminate as much noise and light as possible.
  11. Where possible the bed and bedroom should be for sleep only. Try not to use it as an office, workshop or recreation room.
  12. Avoid using electronic devices such as mobile phones and tablets immediately before bedtime. The blue light of these device is thought to fool the body into thinking its dawn.

Using sleep aids, such as Nytol, can be a useful way to overcome short term periods of poor or disrupted sleep. These aids are only for short term use though and if you are suffering from long term problems you should seek help. Hypnotherapy can help you explore the reason for your sleeplessness and support you to address them.

To find out more about how I can help you with sleeplessness then click here