As the clocks go back and we move towards the winter months, it's important to recognise the importance of getting a good night's sleep. Here we take a look back at some tips, explore other ideas and offer some sources of information if you're struggling to sleep.
Our sleep health awareness campaign earlier in the year looked at how vital sleep is to keep your immune system at its best. We're hopefully on our way out of the pandemic now, however, the regular flu season is around the corner and a prolonged disrupted sleep pattern can change your immune function and reduce resistance to infection. If you're having the flu jab, ensuring you're well-rested before you do so will help the immune response to the vaccine be most effective.
Here are some other tips to help with sleep:
- Try going to bed at more or less the same time each night to create a body clock so your body knows when to rest
- Regular exercise and activity can help you rest, although, try not to do any strenuous exercise before sleeping, something like a walk after your evening meal is good practice
- Try not to eat anything too heavy before bed and don't eat too close to your bedtime, allowing time for your food to settle
- Give your laptops, mobile phones and tablets a rest before sleeping - you can find more about this here
- If you can avoid caffeinated drinks and not overindulge in alcohol, this will also help you fall asleep and increase your chance of deeper sleeping
- In a situation where you're lying awake and find it difficult to fall asleep, get back up again and do something relaxing and go back to bed when you're more tired
- Write down anything that's playing on your mind before bed
Some sleeping difficulties require further investigation. For example, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is usually caused when your airways become partially blocked while you sleep. You may not be aware of this but if you feel fatigued during the day, snore during the night, take multiple trips to the loo overnight, have a loss of libido or have mood swings/feel depressed it may be a sign of OSA. There is a simple questionnaire that you can access here called STOPBANG which can help determine whether this could be a factor.
If you're more concerned about your sleep, contact your doctor.
Other sources of information can be found on the following links: