If you’re one of the millions of Brits across the UK who are struggling to combine a goods night sleep with the pressures of family and work commitment, the good news is that you’re not the only one and by making some simple easy adjustments to you lifestyle, will iron out 95% of problems that you’re having sleeping.
Research suggests they average person in the UK needs between eight and nine hours of sleep every night. Typically those who sleep less that this start to run into health problems to include the brain having the ability to tell when it is not functioning correctly to health and social problems in extreme cases where the person develops insomnia.
How Many Hours
Before you think about making adjustments to your sleeping habit, you need understand how much sleep your body actually needs each night function correctly. Next time you’re on holiday and have had the initial few days to get over the tiredness and start to relax, count the number of hours that your sleeping for.
Typically this will be between six and ten hours depending on the level of activity you have taken during the day and how old you are. Remember, the older you get, the less your body needs to sleep.
Monitor how many hours you’re sleeping each night and over a few nights, record this information. Personally, when i tried this, i slept for 7 hours almost religiously every night. Once you have this number, you can start to make a sleeping plan which will help you get a better nights sleep.
Once you have worked out how much sleep your body needs every night, the next step is make sure that you go to bed at the same time every night whilst allowing yourself enough time to get in my case a seven hour sleep.
It’s very important that you stick to going to bed at the same time every night as research has shown that by doing this, your body get used to the time it’s meant to fall asleep. Of course this is not possible every night, but you need to get into to the repetition of following the 80/20 rule whereby as long as you’re doing this for 80% of the time, the other 20% will not matter. One point, I would recommend that you stick to going to bed at the same time for at least two months before you start using the 80/20 rule. This way, you give your body a chance to get used to the timings that it needs to follow before you start mixing it up.
Whilst going to bed at the same time every night is very important. getting up at the same time everyday is very important as well. By getting up at the same time everyday, you’re getting your body into a rhythm of both how much it can sleep every night, when it will go to sleep and when it needs to wake up.
Research has shown that people who go to bed and get up at the same time each and every day have a better quality of sleep than those that don’t follow a sleeping plan.
Again, research shows that exceptions are okay, however if you want to have a lie-in, try to make it no more than one hour each day, as this will give your body the time to adjust.
How To How To Sleep Better
Once you have worked out how much sleep your body actually needs, set a time to go to bed and a time to wake up, the next step is actually getting to sleep once you’re in bed.
Over the years there has been a lot of research to help people get to sleep and especially stop those who are suffering from insomnia get to sleep naturally without taking prescription drugs.
Below are 10 medically research facts to help you sleep
Work and sleep should not take place in the same place. This means that you should not be reading emails, looking at social media or even watching TV. Your bed is for sleeping and therefore getting into a routine whereby you work in one room and sleep in another has been proven to help you fall asleep.
Mobile screens such as those found on smartphones and IPads emit a blue light that helps your brain to produce melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that that the brain produces effectively to stay awake and when by using your iPad in bed, you’re telling your brain to stay awake rather than go to sleep.
Don’t Eat Before Bedtime
The midnight feast where you have had an early dinner before 6pm because your trying to loose weight, however it’s almost bedtime and you’re starving.
It may be tempting to reach for the kitchen cupboards and make your self a sandwich or find something in the fridge, however eating before you go to bed is a sure way to end up with heartburn which can easily ruin a nights sleep.
The problem with eating before you go to bed is your metabloism tends to slow down whilst your sleeping. This means that the digestive process is also slower and there is more chance that acid build up in your stomach will start to cause problems.
Don’t Touch Alcohol Right Before Bed
If you drink enough alcohol to knock yourself out, you will go to sleep, but it will be a terrible sleep that probably will not do anything for your tiredness. Alcohol stops you getting a good nights sleep because……..
On the same note, don’t think that a quick nightcap will do you any good. Yes it might help you get to sleep, however as soon as the alcohol wears off, it will wake you back up again and getting back to sleep, once you have already slept for a few hours is very difficult.
Relaxation before bed is an important part of getting to sleep. It’s purely psychological, but sends a signal to your brain that you’re getting ready to go to sleep. What you do to relax really does not matter, however i have had patients that found a lot of success with meditation. If you think this could work for you, check out the UCLA Research Center as it has a selection of free downloadable meditations that have been designed to help you sleep.
The Snooze Button
We discussed the importance of waking up at the same time each day to get your body into the rhythm of when it’s meant to be asleep and when it’s meant to be awake. The snooze button on your alarm clock is the killer to this process and does not help you wake up at all. Research shows that hitting the snooze button, falling back to sleep only makes it harder and takes you longer to get your body up and running.
Taking exercise each day is not only important for your health, but it also help you refresh the body. A morning workout is a fantastic way to kick start the body, increase your metabolic rate and clear the brain setting yourself up for a productive day.
Whilst working out in the afternoon or evening is fine, don’t leave it until late at night as those endorphin’s swirling around your brain will not help you get to sleep.
Stop Worry Because You Cannot Sleep
Research shows that people who worry about getting to sleep start to develop negative emotions to sleeping such as fear and anger. This will not help you get to sleep and will instead have the opposite effect – lead to insomnia.
When your worried that you cannot sleep, your body produces stress hormones that make it even harder to get to sleep.
If you’re already at this stage, try stimulus control therapy as it has been proved to help breaking those associations. Rather than associate sleep with fear, you now associated sleep with sleeping.
If You Cannot Sleep
If you really cannot sleep, don’t simply lie there worrying about how the next day will go and the problems that you’re going to face with lack of sleep. Try to get out of bed and do something relaxing such as reading a book. Don’t use you computer or watch TV as these will cause you brain to start producing melatonin which will wake you up even more.
Trying Staying Awake
Recent medical research on insomniacs suggest that those that actually tried to stay awake, had a better quality of sleep than those that tried to sleep. This is because those that tried to stay awake stopped worrying about not sleeping and relaxed their brain to doing nothing.