●● EMMA Leigh, NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) clinical projects manager LAST week was Mental Health Awareness Week and nationally the focus was on relationships.
Good relationships help us live longer and happier lives, with fewer physical and mental health problems.
Investing in your relationships is as important as healthy eating, exercising and not smoking.
Here at NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG, we are asking people to look a little closer to home – to their bedroom habits in fact!
I’m talking about ‘sleep hygiene’, i.e. the habits and practices that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis.
A good sleep routine promotes healthy sleep and daytime alertness, for everyone – children and adults. Good sleep hygiene practices can prevent the development of sleep problems and disorders.
Here are 10 things you should know about getting better sleep.
Each of these points is based on scientific research, and could help you to get the most out of your sleep:
1) Don’t eat or drink products containing caffeine (tea, coffee, cocoa, chocolate, soft drinks) for at least four hours before bedtime.
2) Avoid nicotine (including nicotine patches or chewing gum, etc.) an hour before bedtime and when waking at night.
3) Avoid alcohol around bedtime, because although it can promote sleep at first, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.
4) Avoid eating a large meal immediately before bedtime, although a light snack may be beneficial.
5) Try to do regular (even mild) physical exercise if you are able, but avoid doing this in the two hours before bedtime.
6) Keep the bedroom calm and tidy. Select a mattress, sheets, and pillows that are comfortable.
7) Avoid making your bedroom too hot or too cold.
8) Keep the bedroom quiet and darkened during the night, but try to spend some time in daylight (or bright artificial light) during the day.
9) Keep your bedroom mainly for sleeping; try to avoid watching television, listening to the radio, or eating in your bedroom.
10) Try to keep regular times for going to bed and getting up.
Still looking for more ways to relax? Visit mymind.org.uk/thebox/ downloads for more inspiration.