Sleeping well Tips
Sleep is the one of the fundamental building blocks of living. If we are not getting enough sleep then we become irritable, distressed, and eventually unwell physically.
How much sleep do we need ?. The answer varies. Children need more sleep and by the time they reach adulthood about 7 to 8 hours per night should be sufficient. We need less sleep as we get older. Physical activity, health status, work demands, climate etc.. all effect how much sleep we need . Genetics also play a role in sleep needs.
However as a self-check, one needs to examine if you feel refreshed in the
morning following your nights sleep. The quality of the nights sleep can be as important as the length. We need to have periods of REM (Rapid eye movement) which are deep sleep cycle periods each night. This helps the body restore and re-energise.
Sleep problems are common and almost everyone will go through periods of poor sleeping patterns at different times in life.
Common reasons for sleeping problems include:
- Normal effects of ageing
- Medical reasons such as pain, medication, injury, need to go to the toilet, etc..
- Bereavement, upset
- Stress, worry, anxiety.
- Depression, low mood.
- Surroundings, comfort
- Disrupted sleep patterns, shift work
- Tips to help with getting a good night sleep and getting into a good
- sleeping routine:
Practice the Do’s and Don’t’s of Sleeping Rules
- Go to bed at regular time and get up at regular time Exercise regularly, but not late in evening
- Have a bedtime routine, and wind down time Get up if you are worrying or not asleep after 30 minutes and do something Remember that sleep cycle changes during life time so don’t panic.
- Make sure your bed and bedroom are comfortable, warm enough but cool enough and sleep inducing.
- Check if your medicines are affecting your sleep pattern
- Worry about not getting enough sleep
- Lie in bed worrying about problems
- Use your bed for things other than sleep
- Drink caffeine before bed/sleep time
- Eat before bed time
- Smoke before bed time
- Drink alcohol before bed time
- Go to bed automatically if you are not sleepy/tired
- Take naps during the day (except for periods of sickness /increased stress)
if you have consistently used all of these techniques for two to three weeks, and you are still struggling to sleep consult your GP for additional help.
If you have a sleep problem, establish what type of problem it is by ticking the boxes that apply to you
Getting to sleep □
Staying asleep □
Waking too early □
Poor quality sleep □
Know the problem helps find a solution
Download this excellent resource for further advice and guidance
“Sleeping problems a self help guide” NHS Northumberland, Tyne and Wear