Sleep 2: How to get more

Since writing my blog on the importance of sleep, I have continued to be hounded by information on the subject: articles and comments have appeared on my social media feed and videos have popped up on my You Tube channel. I could not ignore this apparent synchronicity: I was meant to do something. When I was offered a demonstration of a wonder-bed in my home I went for it. Readers, I’ve ordered a new bed that will curl my body into the optimum sleep position and soothe me to sleep with a thrumming massage.

My existing bed is only a few years old and is perfectly comfortable. But it is so high that I have to climb onto it each night, something that I might not be able to do in my advancing years. And why wait for a bed to get old and saggy and need replacing? Or for your body/health to deteriorate so much that you need specialised or mechanised support and help to get in and out of bed? I thought, “Why not start getting a better night’s sleep now?” As far as I’m concerned, I’ve invested in my future health and wellbeing by potentially warding off the long list of problems and diseases that are associated with poor sleep.

If, like many people these days, you are worried about your lack of sleep but want to try out other things before buying a new bed, there are tips below that I’ve adapted from sleep scientist Matthew Walker, author of Why we Sleep, and who I quoted in my previous blog. Matthew describes sleep as, “ …the Swiss army knife of health”, because of its vital importance for our physical and mental health, behaviour and performance. If you need to be reminded of the benefits of sleep and the damage that poor/not enough sleep can cause, watch Matthew’s TED Talk Sleep is your superpower below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MuIMqhT8DM&list=PLyH3o8JDiFvJdbcONeYisf9oxMiV4cpU

A good night’s sleep is all about developing good sleep habits and conditions, to help your brain to identify, and respond to, ‘sleep time.’

Develop a regular sleep schedule

  • Go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
  • Give yourself enough time to have 8 hours sleep. You can’t sleep for 8 hours if you go to bed at midnight and the alarm is scheduled for 6am.

Establish an optimum sleep environment

  • Sleep in darkness to release of the hormone melatonin, which triggers the onset of sleep.
  • Keep the bedroom cool (17 – 17.5 C) as we are programmed to sleep at a lower body temperature than in daytime.

Don’t sabotage sleep

  • With caffeine, which can stay in your bloodstream for more than 12 hours – a midday coffee still will be in your brain at midnight.
  • With late-night alcohol which will fragment your sleep and lower your sleep quality.

If you wake up and can’t get back to sleep

  • Get out of bed so that your brain doesn’t start to associate bed with being wide awake, rather than fast asleep
  • Go into another rohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MuIMqhT8DM&list=PLyH3o8JDiFvJdbcONeYisf9oxMiV4cpUoom, make a cup of hot milk with nutmeg and don’t stress about ‘sleep hours.’

That last point is one of mine! (Although these days I’d use an oatmeal or nut milk alternative.)
Sleep tight everyone!

 

Christine Ingall

12 May 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleep is your superpower | Matt Walker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleep is your superpower | Matt Walker