Sorry to be dramatic, but I want to get serious about sleep.
There is yet another story in the press today about how sleep deprivation can affect health. It has been known that lack of sleep can cause heart disease, diabetes, obesity and poor brain function but the mechanics of how this happened had not been clear. The study found that less sleep alterers the genes thus causing the damage (don’t worry, I’m not going into a science lesson here.)
However what I found shocking was the amount of sleep deprivation it took to cause these changes. Not because it was a big number, quite the opposite, but because it was such a small number and the changes happened very quickly.
The study examined the results of less than 6 hours sleep for a week. Let’s look at that again – less than 6 hours for a week.
How many hours sleep do you get a night? There are many, many people out there who are getting less than 6 hours sleep, night after night. Even if you are in bed for 6 hours, you’ll be getting less when you factor in the time it takes to get to sleep.
Had a hard week? Either staying up late to finish a project or partying hard and not catching up on your sleep, then you could be starting the chain of events.
Fortunately it is possible to easily and quickly improve the quality and length of your sleep. Here are some ideas.
1 – set your alarm clock to remind you to go to bed! Use the alarm function on your phone to set a time to stop working and start going to bed.
2 – switch of computers and work phones early in the evenings. Not only do the display screens stimulate your retinas and keep you awake longer, you also need to take a rest from work. Studies have shown that quality not quantity counts when working hard and that your work is more productive if are refreshed and well rested rather than sleep deprived.
3 – make your bedroom a calm and relaxing place to be, rather than a junk room. Ban computers and any other work associations. You will sleep better and more effectively if your bedroom is associated with sleep and sex only.
4 – stop drinking caffeine after 2pm, so that it has time to leave your body before bedtime and therefore will not affect your sleep.
5 – if you are an insomniac or have another sleep problem then ask about behavior therapy programmes as these have proven to be the most effective, long term way to improve your sleep. The medical world is waking up to the importance of sleep and there is a lot more support and help available than ever before.
Wishing you a great nights sleep!
Charlotte Welply is a life coach and speaker and specializes in insomnia and other sleep difficulties.
There are links on her website www.charlottewelply.com to free guided mediations and pamphlets to help you and your children sleep, as well as information on upcoming courses. You can also follow her on facebook https://www.facebook.com/charlottewelply and twitter @CharlotteWelply for tips, news and information about the world of sleep.