3 Reasons to Sleep better
Good sleep doesn’t just mean lots of sleep: it means the right kind of sleep. Sleep affects our ability to use language, sustain attention, understand what we are reading, and summarise what we are hearing; if we compromise on our sleep, we compromise on our performance,2 our mood,3 and our interpersonal relationships.
As anyone who has tried to get to sleep with a blocked nose or headache knows, physical health problems can stop you from getting a good night’s sleep.
Speaking to your GP or pharmacist about appropriate medication can help with this. Try to avoid taking medication without speaking to a medical professional, as sometimes the medication itself can stop you from sleeping properly if it’s not right for you.
The bedroom should be somewhere that we associate with sleep. Where possible, you should try to remove distractions from you bedroom. It is better to watch TV, play computer games and eat in another room. This will allow you to relax with no distractions in your bedroom.9
Be mindful of the presence of gadgets and electronics, such as computers, phones, tablets and TVs. The backlit ‘blue light’ displays suppress melatonin production – the hormone that helps you sleep; the suppression of melatonin causes sleep disruption. You should stop using these devices two hours before you go to sleep to reduce their impact on your sleeping.
Lying awake in bed, particularly before an important day, can make us worry. However, this worry then makes it harder for us to get to sleep.
Progressive relaxation techniques can help you to relax and unwind at these times.13 A free podcast for learning progressive relaxation techniques is available here. Alternatively, instead of staying in bed and getting more and more frustrated, you could get up and make yourself a warm drink, such as warm milk, and return to bed when you feel sleepier.