Sleep

Sleep or lack of it is one of the most common 21st century health complaints. Our 24-hour lifestyle has many benefits, but it also means many of us are working unusual hours and have less time available for sleep.

In addition, few of us appreciate just how important sleep is to ensure a healthy life.

INFORMATION  AND RESOURCES

Sleep

There are many different views as to how much sleep we need – six to eight hours is often quoted, but some of us need less; and some more. The simplest answer is that you need enough sleep to feel refreshed in the morning and stay awake and alert throughout the day. Here are some tips:

  • go to bed and wake up at the same time every day – only go to bed when you feel tired
  • relax at least 1 hour before bed – for example, take a bath or read a book
  • make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet – use thick curtains, blinds, an eye mask or ear plugs
  • exercise regularly during the day
  • make sure your mattress, pillows and covers are comfortable
  • avoid smoking, alcohol, tea or coffee at least 6 hours before going to bed
  • avoid a big meal late at night
  • do not exercise at least 4 hours before bed

ARTICLES

Sleep and shift work

Sleep – the challenges Shift workers often face challenges in relation to their sleeping patterns and eating habits. This is because our bodies have evolved to operate in a certain way - to be asleep during the night and awake during the daylight hours. This is known...

Sleep tips

Ideas to get you sleeping: Discuss worries with family & friends Remember exercise, daylight & fresh air help with sleep Get up/go to bed at the same time each day Have a bath, listen to music, read, do relaxation exercises before bedtime Make your bedroom...

Sleep apnoea and snoring

Sleep apnoea and snoring advice      Snoring can be a symptom of a disorder called sleep apnoea, which is hard to identify and has serious health risks. General snoring advice Don't drink alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime. Quit smoking. Smoking causes nasal and lung...

Helping children to sleep better

Helping your children to sleep better Keeping your child to a regular bedtime routine can be difficult, but it can help to improve the quality of their sleep. For some children, irregular sleeping hours can be problematic. Sleep is very important to a child's...

The art of good sleep

The art of good sleep Relax your mind - Practice this for ten minutes each night. Breathe, using your abdomen not your chest, through your nose for three seconds, then breathe out for three seconds. Pause for three seconds before breathing in again. Some people find...

Take a nap

A nap of 60 minutes improves alertness for up to 10 hours. Research on pilots shows that a 26-minute "Nasa" nap in flight (while the plane is manned by a copilot) enhanced performance by 34% and overall alertness by 54%. One Harvard study showed that a 45-minute nap...