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Written by Andrea Barker

 

 ADVICE FOR A BETTER SLEEP 
Sleep is so important for us. A good amount of sleep rejuvenates us, without good quality sleep we cannot perform well cognitively, we can get grumpy, stressed and be more susceptible to illness, and put ourselves at risk of making mistakes. While we sleep, our sub-conscious mind processes our day, and we dream. Sleep is when our cells repair, which is why we feel tired when we are unwell, as our body only repairs while sleeping. Growth hormone is only active when we sleep, which is why young children and teenagers need their sleep. A typical cycle of sleep is 90 minutes, which is why sometimes you can wake up at an odd hour and feel like you could get up, and other times feel so groggy when woken up. 
Tips:
• Have a good evening ‘wind down’ routine  
• Exercise in the day helps; like a good walk. Exercise is generally very good for you and a stress buster.
• A warm milky drink helps release sleep endorphins – yes! Which is why it is traditionally the bedtime drink of choice
• Limit your caffeine intake if you are having trouble sleeping; no more than 3 cups a day, and no caffeine after 4pm
• Avoid ‘energy drinks’ – these are counterproductive, especially when you are stressed and having trouble with sleep and some contain additives your body can find difficult to process, you are better with a vitamin boost. B vitamins can be good for helping with stress.
• The mineral Magnesium can be particularly good when you have insomnia, it is a vital mineral for our body – look for ways of adding this in to your diet, or take a good supplement.  
• Do not eat a heavy meal too late, you need a good couple of hours at least to digest food  
• Turn off all devices at a decent time before sleeping, at least an hour is healthier, the blue light from devices interrupts the hormone we need to induce sleep (melatonin) – some devices allow you to set ‘night time’ which changes the display to a warmer less bright colour
• Lavender either in a bath or on your pillow promotes sleep
• 1. Before you sleep write down anything that is worrying you, then rip it up or shred it, a great stress buster, as you physically destroy the thoughts! It gets them out of your mind, so it isn't 'busy' or ‘noisy’ when you’re trying to sleep.  
• 2. Also get into the habit of writing down, 3 great things from the day, or 3 things that made you smile.
• 3. A quick list of what you have to do the following day, is helpful too, as you don’t worry about what you have to do the next day, these 3 tips should only take 10 -15 minutes.  
• If you do wake up in the night - Remove clocks from eye view -so when you wake up in the night you don't look at the time, and then worry about the time, and start worrying about how long before you have to get up
• Tell yourself to relax and concentrate on your breathing - just being aware of it and slowing it down can help
• Try little exercises like - remembering every childhood friend, every work colleague you have ever worked with, every holiday... or trying to count down from 300 to zero, if thoughts come in, just get back to the counting down, it’s ok if you don’t quite remember what number you’re at – I have not got to zero yet, and I’ve really tried!
• You can listen to lovely music, specifically for sleep, that can really help, I do an MP3 for sleep, let me know if you are interested.  
If you would like this as a pdf document, do let me know

 

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