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4 Pillars to Better Sleep

4 Pillars to
Better Sleep

What you need to know about
The 4 Pillars to Better Sleep

It’s not just about getting enough sleep: it’s about getting the right kind of sleep. Sleep has an impact on our capacity to utilise language, maintain attention, comprehend what we read, and summarise what we hear; if we don’t get enough sleep, it impacts our performance, mood, and interpersonal interactions.

HEAL – The 4 Pillars to Better Sleep

The following four elements have an impact on the quality of your sleep:

  • Health
  • Environment
  • Attitude
  • Lifestyle

 

The immune system has also been found to benefit from sleep. Each person requires various amounts of sleep; nevertheless, a healthy adult should sleep between seven and nine hours per night on average.

The most important thing is that you receive enough rest. The following suggestions can assist you in HEALING your sleep issues.

Health

Physical health issues might prevent you from having a decent night’s sleep, as anybody who has attempted to sleep with a blocked nose or headache knows.

Speaking with your doctor or pharmacist about the right medication can assist you to sleep. Avoid taking any medication without first consulting a doctor, as the medication itself may prevent you from sleeping adequately if it isn’t good for you.

Anxiety and depression are two mental health issues that can disrupt sleep. In these circumstances, the most successful treatment is frequently a combined approach that addresses both the mental health issue and the lack of sleep. Consult your GP or mental health worker (if you have one) for advice, or look at the ‘Attitude’ and ‘Lifestyle’ sections of this webpage for general tips on how to keep your mental health in good shape.

Environment

The bedroom should be a place where we associate sleeping. You should try to keep distractions out of your bedroom if at all possible. It is preferable to watch TV, play video games, and eat in a separate room. This will allow you to unwind in your bedroom with no distractions.

Be aware of the presence of electronics and gadgets such as computers, phones, tablets, and televisions. Melatonin production is suppressed by backlit ‘blue light’ screens, which disrupts sleep. Melatonin is a hormone that helps you sleep. To lessen the impact of these devices on your sleep, turn them off two hours before you go to bed.

Although everyone is different and has their own particular preferences, light, noise, and temperature are all typical influences that might disrupt our sleep. Too much light or noise might make it difficult to fall or stay asleep. You might wish to use an eye mask or earplugs if there are sources of light and noise that you can’t control, such as light from street lighting or noise from a neighbour’s music.

The room’s temperature is also essential. If you’re frequently too cold at night, a heater or heavier duvet can help; if you’re too hot, a thinner cover or opening a window will help. If you’re having trouble figuring out what sleep environment is best for you, keeping a sleep journal (there’s one at the back of this guide) will help you keep note of the variables that helped you obtain a good night’s sleep.

Attitude

We can become anxious while lying awake in bed, especially before a big day. However, this anxiety makes it more difficult for us to sleep.

In these situations, progressive relaxation techniques might help you relax and unwind.

Rather than staying in bed and becoming increasingly frustrated, get up and make yourself a warm drink, such as warm milk, and then return to bed when you feel more sleepy.

If your sleep issues persist for more than a month, talk to your doctor about the potential of adopting cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is used to address a variety of mental health issues. It can help you build a healthy sleep pattern by encouraging a more optimistic attitude, which can then help you break the cycle of negative thoughts that are causing your lack of sleep.

Mindfulness, a sort of meditation can, on the other hand, help by lowering stress and anxiety levels. Without a doctor’s prescription, you can practise mindfulness.

 

Lifestyle

You can increase the quality of your sleep by doing a variety of things every day.

Chemicals produced by rice, oats, and dairy products can boost our desire to sleep. Foods and drinks high in caffeine or sugar, on the other hand, might keep you awake, so drinking less tea and coffee and eating less chocolate and other sugary foods late in the day may help you sleep better.

Although alcohol can make you weary and help you fall asleep, it often degrades the quality of your sleep and makes you more likely to wake up during the night as the effects wear off. You may also need to go to the bathroom frequently or get up to drink water if you are dehydrated.

Exercising on a regular basis is supposed to aid sleep, as it can assist to lower worry and tension, among other things. However, it is critical to exercise at the appropriate times. Exercising earlier in the day is preferable because it stimulates the body’s adrenaline production, which makes sleeping more difficult if done right before night.

Sleep disorders

The list below shows some of the most prevalent sleep issues, as well as treatment options.

Insomnia

Insomnia is the term used to describe a condition in which you are unable to fall asleep or stay asleep for a long enough period of time on a regular basis. As a result, insomnia can affect your mood, energy levels, concentration, relationships, capacity to stay awake during the day, and ability to do ordinary everyday tasks.

Learn more about Insomnia here.

Sleepwalking

People rarely remember sleepwalking since it occurs during deep sleep. Some people, in addition to getting out of bed and walking, perform duties in their sleep, such as cleaning. Children are significantly more likely than adults to sleepwalk.

Learn more about sleepwalking here.

Night terrors

A night terror differs from a nightmare in that it occurs while you are sleeping deeply, therefore you are unlikely to remember it. Night terrors cause your heart to race and you to sweat or scream, and they are often a terrifying sensation. Night terrors are common throughout childhood, but they only rarely last into adulthood.

Learn more about night terrors here.

Snoring

Snoring is a highly frequent condition in the United Kingdom, affecting 41.5% of adults. Snoring is a respiratory problem, not a sleep problem, and occurs when the organs that help us breathe vibrate due to an obstruction in the airway. It is frequently more of an issue for those who share a room with a snorer than it is for the snorer.

Learn more about snoring here.

Sleep apnoea

Sleep apnoea is characterised by shallow breathing or breathing pauses that can last up to 30 seconds. Most of the time, you’ll resume normal breathing after making a loud snort or choking sound to clear your airway. Sleep apnoea causes people to wake up frequently throughout the night, sweating, with a dry mouth and a headache.

Learn more about sleep apnoea here.

Top tips from Pure Medical’s sleep doctor

1. Don’t nap!

If you’re having difficulties sleeping, you might be inclined to nap to make up for the lost time. However, unless you’re feeling dangerously tired (for example, when driving or operating machinery), this usually causes more harm than help because it makes sleeping at night more difficult. If you’re feeling fatigued during the day, get up and go for a walk to get some fresh air, or do something tough for a few minutes, such as a crossword puzzle or Sudoku.

2. If you’re not tired, get up

Don’t lie in bed at night worrying that you’re having trouble sleeping. Get out of bed for a few minutes and get a drink (no sugar or caffeine, remember!) before returning to bed when you’re more tired.

3. Make a ‘get in shape’ plan for yourself

Healthy eating and regular exercise are two excellent methods to improve your sleep. However, schedule your meals and exercise so that you don’t exercise or eat a large meal after mid-evening; doing either of these things too close to bedtime can prevent you from sleeping.

4. Don’t get too worked up about it!

Excessive sleep-related thinking or attempting to push yourself to sleep will simply keep you awake. Instead, learning to relax both your body and mind will make it much easier for you to fall asleep.

5. Keep a sleep Journal

How well you sleep is affected by the amount of noise, light, and distractions in your room, as well as what and when you eat and the temperature of your room. Keeping a sleep journal to record the conditions when you went to bed the night before can be beneficial in allowing you to go back and evaluate what has and hasn’t worked for you. It also allows you to examine how your sleep differs from night to night, as well as identify sleeping patterns.

Questions for your sleep journal should include:

  • How did you sleep the night before?
  • What time did you retire for the night?
  • What was the length of time it took you to fall asleep?
  • How many times did you get up in the middle of the night?
  • When did you first wake up?
  • In total, how long did you sleep?
  • What did you drink (if anything) in the four hours leading up to bedtime (e.g., a cup of tea/coffee/milky drink, a glass of wine/beer, sleeping medications, dinner), and when did you drink it?
  • What was the temperature in your bedroom and outside?
  • When you went to sleep, what light sources were there?
  • When you went to sleep, how much noise did you hear?
  • Before you went to sleep, what activities did you do?
  • Any additional thoughts?