Friday, 28 January 2011

The big sleep

There's nothing better than a good night's sleep. It sets you up for the day, makes you more likely to be in good spirits, better able to face any challenges that arise and keeps you healthy. Some people underestimate just how important it is and yet a lack of sleep is associated with conditions such as depression, immune deficiency and heart disease. The Mental Health Foundation believe sleep problems should be regarded as a major health issue.

Lately I've been noticing that the quality of my sleep is very erratic. It seems like the slightest things can affect how well I sleep. The days I exercise I'm assured a good night's sleep and as a result always look forward to going to bed those nights! Factors that never seemed to affect me are now doing so (maybe that's a sign I'm getting older!). Even one small glass of wine in an evening causes me disrupted sleep.

With an energetic toddler, I need a good night's sleep every night! After reading a couple of articles, here are 4 steps I am planning on following and that you might find helpful too:

  1. Leave at least 2-3 hours after eating before going to bed.

  2. Do something relaxing to unwind before bed (listen to music, read, do some gentle stretching exercises...)

  3. Avoid caffeine or alcohol 4-6 hours before going to bed (that includes chocolate!!).

  4. Try to keep to a regular bedtime (this is supposed to help programme your body to sleep better).

In the same way most parents implement a structured bedtime routine for children, helping them wind down, making them comfortable,  relaxed and ready for sleep, I suppose we need to apply the same techniques to ourselves. It can be more of a challenge in the grown-up world especially if one or both parents works late. Getting home late pushes dinner later and bedtime later so having 2-3 hours between eating and bed doesn't always work. However, even doing one thing consistently like taking a few minutes to do something relaxing before bed is a good start and might improve your quality of  sleep. Being aware of the influences both good and bad on your sleep is important too, so that you can steer clear of the disruptive ones and do more of the things that help you sleep soundly.

Have you noticed anything that affects the quality of your sleep? Do you generally sleep well? Is there something you do every night before bed that helps you unwind?


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  1. There are no pearls of wisdom that I can offer having been prescribed sleeping pills, but I just wanted to thank you for your pointers. As I can only have these (highly addictive) tablets for 2 weeks I'll definitely be trying out the 4 points, as I probably do none of these at the moment!

  2. Hi Mummy Beadzoid, I am glad you think you might find the pointers helpful. I think they are really working for me, especially leaving a good amount of time between eating and sleeping and also doing something for a few minutes to unwind before bed. Hope you get some better nights sleep soon!


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