World Sleep Day on 15th March is an annual event, highlighting the importance of good sleep health for individuals to best achieve their personal, family, and professional goals.
In the UK alone, nearly a third of the population is suffering from insomnia which can have an impact on your physical and mental well-being.
Dr Adam Simon, Founder and Lead GP at Private GP Extra, recommends following the below steps to help you get a good night’s sleep:
1. Adopt a Tech-Free Bedtime – The bedroom should be somewhere that we associate with sleep. Where possible, you should try to remove distractions from your bedroom. It is better to watch TV, check social media and eat in another room. This will allow you to relax with no distractions in your bedroom.
Be mindful of the presence of gadgets and electronics, such as computers, phones, tablets and TVs. The backlit ‘blue light’ displays suppress melatonin production – the hormone that helps you sleep; the suppression of melatonin causes sleep disruption. You should stop using these devices two hours before you go to sleep to reduce their impact on your sleeping.
2. Time Your Exercise – Working-out on a regular basis can help us sleep, helping to reduce anxiety and relieve stress. Exercising earlier in the day is better, as exercise increases the body’s adrenaline production, making it more difficult to sleep if done just before bedtime.
3. No Napping! – If you have trouble sleeping, you may feel tempted to catch-up on sleep by taking naps. However, unless you’re feeling dangerously sleepy (while driving or operating machinery, for instance), this usually does more harm than good as it makes it more difficult to sleep at night.
If you feel tired during the day, get-up and take a walk around, get some fresh air, or do something challenging for a short while, like a crossword or a Sudoku puzzle.
4. Foods that Help and Hinder – Eating rice, oats and dairy products can produce chemicals that increase our desire to sleep. As well as the obvious caffeine, in terms of food and drink to avoid, things high in sugar can keep you awake if consumed late in the day. A big meal after mid-evening can also stop you from sleeping.
5. Keep a Sleep Diary – Recording a note of what the conditions were like when you went to bed the night before, can be useful for letting you look back and see what has and what hasn’t worked for you. It also helps you to see how your sleep varies from night to night, and might help you notice patterns in your sleeping.
If you are suffering from long-term sleep deprivation, it is always best to consultant a GP who can check to see if there are any underlying health issues.
At Private GP Extra, our doctors offer fast access, flexible appointments at a time to suit you. To book or for more information please call 0161 428 4464.