Health and Wellness Tips: How to get Better Sleep

There’s a new acronym on the block. TATT.

It means ‘tired all the time’ and many of us suffer from tiredness at some point or another. There are many reasons for feeling tired but the most common one is obvious - lack of sleep. We live a 24-hour lifestyle these days. We actually need at least 7 hours sleep every night, although we’d all love the desired 8 hours but how much more depends on the individual. If you regularly sleep for 6 hours or less you may start to notice some symptoms that can be directly attributed to lack of sleep that you may well have gotten used to without realising.

Here’s the top signs to watch out for that could indicate you’re not getting enough sleep;

Waking up tired

Did you drop off in the wee small hours? If you wake up tired you haven’t had enough shut-eye. Don’t be tempted to hit the snooze button. You’ll feel 100 times worse when it wakes you up again. Bite the bullet and pledge to have an early night.

Topping up on stimulants?

Caffeine and sugar may perk you up temporarily but within an hour you’ll ‘slump’. Try to avoid the yo-yo cycle by sticking to sugar-free breakfasts and caffeine-free drinks.

You’re grumpy

It might not be your age - feeling tired makes you cranky.

You’re clumsy

Being sleep-deprived affects your motor skills so if you’re dropping things, tripping up, or bumping into stationary objects you could be over-tired.

Don’t drive tired

Driving after a poor night’s sleep can be as bad as driving while drunk. Sleep is crucial for your concentration levels so if you’ve got a big journey ahead, factor in an early night.

You find decision-making difficult

If you’re tired it’s hard to focus on details or make sense of subjects and conversations that need your attention. Sleep refreshes the mind as well as the body.

You don’t look your best

Beauty sleep is not just a myth. A lack of sleep can affect your appearance. Eyes look red and baggy, dark circles are more apparent; your skin can look sallow and the corners of your mouth turn downwards. When you sleep, your body starts to repair the damage of the previous day. It releases chemicals that keep you healthy and improve your well-being so not getting enough kip can have an effect on your long-term health.

You keep getting ill

Getting enough sleep can boost your immunity, so if you keep picking up coughs and colds or other everyday illnesses it could be down to poor sleeping patterns.

You’re always hungry

Food can ‘wake you up’. But if you regularly survive on just a few hours’ sleep a night your body will have higher levels of a hormone called ‘ghrelin’ or the ‘hunger hormone’. If you’ve put on a few pounds or find it hard to shift that spare tyre, it could be down to a lack of sleep.

Does this sound like you? Here’s our top tricks to send you off to sleep;

Turn off your devices

Watching TV in bed or going on your laptop or tablet can wake up your brain. The bright lights also stimulate the chemicals that send you off to sleep making you feel wide awake.

Go for a swim or a gentle walk

Getting some fresh air or exercise can help you drift off into a healthy, well-deserved sleep. Do a little exercise at around 7pm and aim to hit the sack by 10pm.

Take a hot bath

Enjoy a soak in a hot bath. Add a few drops of lavender oil and also pop a little lavender on your favourite pillow.  Those old wives know that this floral scent has sleep-inducing properties so give it a go.

Have a bedtime.

Establish a regular pattern

Try to get into the habit of having a regular bedtime. Your body will get used to the routine and will eventually start to feel naturally tired as bedtime approaches.

Read a book

Reading for 10 minutes before ‘lights-out’ can help your brain to switch off from real life and wind down. Don’t read anything too gripping though as you may want to stay up and finish the book!

Keep yourself in the dark

If your bedroom is quite light it can be harder to drift off to sleep. Try black out curtains or an eye-mask to block light from sources you can’t control such as street lights shining through your bedroom window.

Sleep is our friend. It’s one of the biggest and most accessible health boosters we have. It repairs our bodies, makes us feel more energetic and alert, and enough regular sleep can even help boost our immune systems. Common under-lying health problems such as sleep apnoea - where you stop breathing and then wake up - can affect your sleep. This problem is caused by lifestyle factors such as heavy drinking, eating a big meal or smoking. Physical factors like a blockage in your airways or obesity can also contribute to it.

If you think this could be an issue, see your medical professional - there is lots of help out there. Before you know it, you’ll be as fresh as a daisy.

 


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