Golden Slumbers

The most helpful advice to give anyone feeling anxious or stressed, is to get more sleep.

The many benefits of a good night’s sleep include: –

  • Improved memory – During sleep our memories are consolidated and new skills practised.
  • Increased creativity – The brain re-structures thoughts and ideas, often in creative ways.
  • Improved physical performance. – Sleep improves physical performance, whether the individual is an Olympic athlete or a child learning to skip.
  • Improved attention in the classroom – Sleep deprived adults feel lethargic. Sleep deprived children become hyperactive. 
  • Helping to maintain a healthy body weight – Anyone on a diet will feel hungrier when deprived of sleep.
  • Improved cardiac health – Sleep has a positive effect on blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Improved reaction time – Insufficient sleep for just one night can be as detrimental to an individual’s driving ability as having an alcoholic drink.
  • Increased emotional well-being – Mental stability improves after a good night’s sleep. If we have less than seven or eight hours sleep each night, we will suffer significant mental dysfunction. 

To get more sleep: –

  1. Stick to a regular sleep routine. Get up and go to bed at the same time every day.
  2. Avoid using electronic screens close to bedtime: the blue light the screens emit fool the body into thinking it is day.
  3. Avoid drinks containing caffeine in the two hours before going to bed.
  4. Avoid heavy meals immediately before bedtime: the body will think it is time to get up and start working. Have an easily digestible snack, a banana or a milky drink, to prevent pangs of hunger during the night.
  5. Spend the 30 minutes before bedtime winding down. Avoid activities that will alert the brain, for example, ringing a friend for a gossip.
  6. Body temperature fluctuates throughout the day and is at its highest in the afternoon. If the bedroom is too hot, it will be harder to sleep. 
  7. Make sure the bedroom is dark and quiet. Use an eye mask or ear plugs if the environment is too light or noisy. 
  8. Improve ventilation. If the room is stuffy, it will be harder to breathe easily, which in turn will disturb sleep.
  9. If, during the night, you think of something you must act on tomorrow, keep a notebook at the side of your bed and, resisting the temptation to think about the problem, jot the thought down and go back to sleep.
  10. Experiment with natural sleep remedies, for example, a small amount of lavender essence sprinkled on a pillow is believed to enhance sleep. 

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