5 ways to improve your sleep
Do you find yourself snapping, barking and in general, reacting aggressively over small little things? Are you the person in the office or at home that everyone is tip-toeing around?
What's driving this irritability? Many common things can upset our mood. Maybe it's the cold winter weather, maybe you're 'hangry' (Yes, that's a real thing!) or maybe you've just had too many espressos today.
But the number one reason by far is lack of sleep. Sleep is one of the most essential things to health and yet more than 30% of people in the UK report getting a poor night sleep most nights. And according to the Sleep Council's, Great British bedtime report 2017, unfortunately, more than a third (35%) have suffered sleep problems for more than five years.
Research shows that poor quality of sleep can contribute to emotional outbursts, depression and suicide. Furthermore, research has shown an increased risk of certain conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity in people who are sleep deprived.
5 ways to improve your sleep
Sleep and mood are closely connected and if you're not regularly getting a good night's sleep, it will show up in your mood. If you want to improve your sleep, here are the top five things you should do.
1. Monitor how much caffeine you’re drinking
Too much caffeine can make it difficult to get to sleep and difficult to stay asleep. The UK Food Standards Agency recommends 400 mg of caffeine as the daily intake for the average person. One shot of espresso is about 95 mg and a medium coffee at Costa contains three shots. Caffeine also has a half-life of about six hours – so it may be in your body much later than you realise.
2. Manage your light in the evening
The blue light we get from our phones, laptops, televisions and tablets all play with our circadian rhythm and tell our body it’s daytime. Dim down your lights and switch electronics to the red/amber ‘warm’ light mode about 90 minutes before you’re planning to go to sleep. The switch from light to dark, blue light to red/amber light starts your body producing melatonin which makes you sleepy.
3. Switch off at night
Our 24/7 lifestyle means that you may get an upsetting email or notification only minutes before you turn out the light, or even in the middle of the night. Put a curfew on emails and messages – as any stressful content can leave you wide-awake and anxious, just when you want to be relaxed and sleepy. Put an automated message saying you aren’t available after a certain time and all messages will be answered in the morning. Leave your technology outside the bedroom, or at least put phones on the airplane mode.
4. Set a consistent wake up time
Even on the weekends, better sleep starts with waking up at the same time every day. This is a relatively easy fix that can give great rewards. Your body loves consistency. Setting your wake up time cues your body for when it should be going to bed as well, helping you to sleep better at night.
5. Try taking a nap
According to an article published in The Telegraph, research has shown that post-lunch naps can be as refreshing as eight hours of sleep. Sneaking in a nap can help you shake off that sleep-deprived irritability. The best time for naps is between 1pm and 3pm. So, on your next day off, join the club of well-known nappers that included Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein and turn off the phone, slip under the covers for 60 to 90 minutes and see what a difference it can make to your mood.
Your life is crazy enough with deadlines, school runs, bills to pay and dinner to sort out. Don't let a negative mood bring you and the people around you down. Next time you find yourself over-reacting and snapping at someone, try to identify what’s causing that irritation. If it's lack of sleep - then do something about it. Your friends, family and co-workers will all thank you.
Are you in need of some support in getting a great night's sleep? A sleep coach is an ideal person to help you with this, supporting and guiding you to sleep better at night.
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