World Sleep Day

Today is World Sleep Day

World Sleep Day is an annual recognition day of the importance of good sleep and the ways you can improve your sleep habits.

The impact of a good nights’ sleep – or a bad night for that matter – can’t be underestimated. Benefits of healthy sleep include:

  • Improved attention span
  • Improved concentration
  • Aids learning and the ability to make memories
  • Helps to maintain a healthy weight
  • Lowered risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure
  • Strengthened immune system
  • Increased wellbeing and positive mental health
  • Reduced stress
  • Heightened ability to regulate your own mood, leading to better relationships

It’s not all about the amount of sleep you get though. If you’re struggling to get to sleep, waking up during the night, spending less than 85% of your time in bed asleep, struggling to stay awake during the day, craving caffeine or junk food or feeling overly stressed out (more so than usual), you may be getting poor quality sleep.

How to change your sleep habits

There are lots of things you can do to get yourself into better sleeping habits:

  1. Get ready: As you’re getting ready to go to sleep –
    1. Cut down on caffeine
    2. Reduce screen time in the evening.
    3. Limit yourself to snacks rather than full meals that might sit heavily on your stomach.
    4. Avoid overstimulating activities such as social media.
  2. Prepare the room: your bedroom should be cool (ideally between 16 and 18 degrees), quiet and comfortable. If you’re waking with aches and pains (more so than usual), you may need to consider getting a new mattress or pillow.
  3. Stay focused: it’s not easy, but putting worry and stresses out of your head as you fall off to sleep will mean good quality sleep.
  4. Meditate: meditation as a way to relax and fall asleep is popular for a reason. Try this one, or download a good app like Insight Timer.
  5. Don’t stress: worrying about the amount of sleep you’re getting or not getting works up more anxiety and adds to bad feelings. If you’re lying awake and finding it difficult to nod off, try getting up and doing a non-stimulating activity such as reading or listening to quiet music until you start to feel tired again.
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