Sleep is essential to the maintenance of physical and mental health. We all know how difficult life can be when we’re not sleeping well. Poor sleep can have a negative impact on your energy levels, mood, performance and enjoyment of life. It’s worth taking a few minutes to think about how you might be able to improve your quality and quantity of sleep.
During sleep our heart rate slows, body temperature falls, and we go through different stages of sleep – from very light sleep from which it is easy to be woken, to the deeper stages of sleep which is when we dream. Normal sleep patterns include a mix of all the different stages of sleep.
Most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night and teenagers and younger children need more. By working out what time you need to wake up, you can set a regular bedtime schedule to help you get a good night’s sleep.
Keeping a sleep diary
If you are often very tired because you haven’t been sleeping well, keeping a sleep diary can help. By uncovering lifestyle habits that may be making it difficult to sleep, you can change your bedtime routine to improve your chances of sleeping well. A typical sleep diary may include answers to some of the following questions:-
- What are your sleeping times?
Keeping regular patterns to your sleep can help you to sleep better. Although having extra sleep in the morning on days when you don’t need to get up may seem like a good idea, it can actually make it more difficult to sleep when you need to.
- How long did it take to get to sleep?
If you regularly lie awake for a long time before you fall asleep, try going to bed a bit later or making sure you do something relaxing for 30 minutes before you sleep like reading or listening to music.
- Did you wake up during the night, and if so, how many times?
If you wake up regularly and lie awake for more than 20 minutes each time, it may be an idea to get up. Wait until you are really tired and then go back to bed.
- Did you have any stimulants, for example, caffeine and alcohol before bed?
Try not to drink any drinks with caffeine (coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks) or alcohol for at least 4 hours before you go to bed.
- Did you exercise shortly before bed?
Although getting enough exercise is really important, if you do strenuous exercise too close to when you want to sleep, your body and mind will find it difficult to relax.
- Did you go to bed hungry or too full?
Although getting enough to eat is also very important to healthy sleep, if you eat too much before bed, you may have difficulty sleeping. Also, if you are really hungry, this can also keep you awake.
- Are you worried or upset about something?
Try to talk to someone about your problem before you go to bed. That way, it should help you to worry less and this will help you to sleep better.
Try it out!
If you think you are not getting enough sleep, try to think about ways that you could improve your sleep quality. Try thinking about the questions in the “keeping a sleep diary” section and see if you can find ways to improve your sleep which will contribute to an improvement in your overall wellbeing.
For rest and sleep, which small changes do you think will make the biggest difference to your wellbeing long-term?
What are you doing to make sure you are resting well? Share with iamtheCODE what you are doing to take care of your wellbeing by tagging us on social media with the #wellbeing