A recent report, conducted by the Royal Society For Public Health, said that the public is missing out on a night’s worth of sleep every week..
According to the report, the average adult in the UK gets 6.8 hours a night, below the average medical professionals recommend, which is 8 hours.
Why does getting a bit less sleep per night really matter to us?
Sleep and Wellbeing
Well, Shirley Cranmer, Chief Executive of the RSPH commented: “We do need to wake up to the benefits of sleep - there is a wealth of evidence that lack of sleep is damaging the public’s health. Poor sleep and sleep disorders impact on our ability to lead a healthy lifestyle and are associated with a range of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart attack and depression.”
It seems that not getting enough sleep does more than leave us a bit cranky in the morning – it can actually have a real impact on our overall health and wellbeing.
In fact, experts are calling for “…the introduction of national sleep guidance time – ‘a slumber number’ – to help inform the public about the critical importance of sleep to health and wellbeing.” They are calling for the UK Government to publish a national Sleep Strategy.
So in order to support this movement towards the nation getting better sleep, we have produced this list of top ways to get a better night sleep:
12 Ways to Help You Get Off To Sleep More Easily
- 1) Read an old book before bed – reading exciting novels you have never read will keep you turning the page; old books which you know the plot will make you sleepy
- 2) Get a regular sleep pattern – get up and go to bed at the same time every day – even on weekends. Your body will get into a better rhythm. (Sleep Foundation)
- 3) Give electronic devices a break at least half an hour before you hit the sack, and leave your phone out of arms reach in bed – this will make you less likely to be reminded and tempted to check your emails or Facebook.
- 4) Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual – have a relaxing bath, light some candles, maybe even some incense? "A bedtime ritual teaches the brain to become familiar with sleep times and wake times,” says expert Jessica Alexander “It programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine.” – (NHS Choices)
- 5) Try chill-out music on You Tube before you go to sleep to relax you. Rainfall is one of my favourites.
- 6) Get a comfy bed! And mattress and pillows. It’s worth shelling out for the higher quality kit when you come to replace them. The accepted wisdom is that you should change your mattress every 7 years – stick to this. If buying a good-quality bed and mattress seems excessively expensive, work out the “per night” cost: a £2,000 bed kept for 10 years will cost around 55p a night – far less than a daily coffee – (Telegraph)
- 7) Avoid naps – it disturbs your sleep rhythm
- 8) Relaxation exercises, such as light yoga stretches, help to relax the muscles. Don't exercise vigorously, as it will have the opposite effect. (NHS Choices)
- 9) Keep the environment comfortable - The bedroom needs to be dark, quiet, tidy, smell fresh and be kept at a temperature of between 18C and 24C. “Fit some thick curtains if you don’t have any” (NHS Choices)
- 10) Check your sleeping posture - We spend a third of our lives in a sleeping posture and it should be our most restorative. You can’t correct your posture while asleep, but you can buy the right mattress and pillow, and tackle any specific areas of discomfort (Telegraph)
- 11) Keep a sleep diary - It may be a good idea to keep a sleep diary. It might uncover lifestyle habits or experiences in your daily activities that contribute to your insomnia. A sleep diary might ask questions such as “how long did it take you to get to sleep?” and “how long did you sleep?” (Telegraph)
- 12) Consider alternative therapies - For sleep problems related to lifestyle, there is anecdotal evidence that therapies such as acupuncture, homoeopathic remedies and massage may be useful. As long as the treatment is not harmful, it may be worth trying. (Telegraph)