Five top tips for a good night’s sleep

Sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.

Sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. - Credit: Archant

Lack of sleep can have a huge effect on every area of our lives. Richard Cawte specialises in treating people for insomnia and here, he takes a look at some of the problems a poor sleep pattern causes and some remedies

Keeping to a routine helps you to sleep.

Keeping to a routine helps you to sleep. - Credit: Archant

Sleeplessness, or insomnia, is a big deal. And it’s getting bigger.

Recent surveys suggest that more than half of us are not getting enough sleep, with women (more than 70per cent) suffering most.

So why is it such a big deal? Because it has huge affects on pretty much every area of our lives.

If you are not getting enough sleep, you’ll be less productive at work, less able to concentrate and less positive to be with.

Richard Cawte.

Richard Cawte. - Credit: Archant

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At home you’ll be more grumpy, less patient and more short-tempered (sound familiar?).

Worse than that, you run increased risks of developing all sorts of physical conditions.

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Your immune system will be weakened, making you susceptible to colds and viruses.

Your metabolism will slow down, making you more likely to put on weight.

Left unattended, insomnia can lead to anxiety, frustration, exhaustion and even depression.

In the future, I’ll be looking at specific measures you can take to get a good night’s sleep, as well as answering commonly-asked questions such as ‘How much sleep is enough?’

But for now, here are my five top tips for a good night’s sleep:

1) Go to bed at the same time each night. Our brains like routine. If you can, go to bed at the same time every night.

2) Make your bedroom dark. We live in an increasingly bright world. Make sure your curtains or blinds are black-out quality.

3) Switch off ALL screens an hour before bedtime.

4) Remove televisions and mobile phones from the bedroom.

5) If you find yourself lying in bed awake for more than ten minutes, get up and do something until you are tired. Don’t lie there thinking ‘I can’t get to sleep’.

The do’s and don’ts of getting a good night’s rest

? DON’T drink caffeine-based drinks such as coffee, tea, or fizzy drinks during the last hour before bedtime.

Having a late-night cuppa is not relaxing. All caffeine-based drinks are stimulants. On top of that, drinking late at night may cause you to wake up needing to go to the loo, which won’t help you to get a good night’s rest.

? DO take regular exercise during the day

It sounds obvious, but there’s nothing like physical exertion to help your body feel the need for restoring sleep. This doesn’t mean taking out membership of your local gym, although in many cases this is a good idea!

You can start slowly and build up over time.

Try walking for 20 minutes during your lunch-break, or consider enrolling with a beginners group in your local leisure-centre for yoga, pilates or whatever suits you best.

Note: always discuss how much exercise is appropriate for you with your qualified medical practitioner beforehand.

Richard Cawte has a Diploma in Clinical Hypnosis and is a member of the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis and an accredited member of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council . He specialises in treating clients for insomnia, stress and anxiety. Contact Richard on 07894 541796 or to arrange a free consultation.

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