A Good Night’s sleep

Gillian Cooper
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According to a new sleep app, British people are among the grumpiest in the world when they wake up in the morning. Along with Japan, South Korea and Singapore, we are getting poorer quality sleep than most of the 50 countries surveyed.
So why are we so prone to getting up on the wrong side of bed? Lack of a good night's sleep is one of the biggest factors.

Busy lifestyles mean that juggling work, home and children leads to later bed times than a generation ago – and earlier mornings too as we try to get a head start on the day. 

Stress and worry about work, money, health and family keeps many awake in the small hours.

And technology is not helping - our “always on” culture leads to people taking their devices into the bedroom to play games, use social media and check emails while in bed.  Not only does this prevent the brain from slowing down but exposure to the blue light they emit before and during sleep reduces the quality of sleep we do get.

Increasingly, getting adequate and good quality sleep is being recognised by the medical world as an important factor in our general health.

There are things we can do to help ensure we improve our sleep and wake up feeling more refreshed in the morning.

·         Firstly, recognise the importance of routine:  identify your bedtime and don’t let it slip.

·         Make the hour before you go to bed relaxing – read a book or perhaps take a bath.

·         Don’t use gadgets after 9pm because they suppress the secretion of melatonin in the brain.  And don’t take gadgets into the bedroom either – if you use your phone as an alarm buy an old fashioned alarm clock instead.

·         Avoid stimulants – for example, no caffeine after mid-afternoon, and if you smoke, try not to do so for a couple of hours before bed.

·         Exercise during the day is very good – but don’t do it too close to bedtime or it may make you too alert to sleep.

·         Make sure your bedroom is dark enough – early morning sunlight coming through thin curtains or blinds can wake you up too soon - and that it’s the right temperature for you.

·         Invest in a good mattress so that you’re comfortable – Which has a useful guide for this: http://www.which.co.uk/home-and-garden/home-improvements/guides/choosing-the-best-type-of-mattress/how-to-buy-a-new-bed-mattress/

Source: Sleepcycle.com October 2014

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