Nodding off . . .
Are you getting enough of the right kind of sleep?
Most of us feel better after a good night’s sleep. But pressures of modern living and the balancing act of raising a family alongside work often mean it’s hard to get the sleep we need. Many people suffer with sleep disorders and about 80% of the population feel they’re either not getting the right quality or enough sleep. Time to wake up and recognise that sleep is important for wellbeing.
Sleep is a physical and emotional need, so it’s doubly vital to wellbeing. A healthy adult requires seven to eight hours of sleep a night, or a little less as we get older.
There are, broadly speaking, two different kinds of sleep. Deep sleep (‘slowwave’ or ‘non-REM’ sleep) is the stage when most of the brain is offline, resting while the body’s cells are repaired. This makes up about 80% of a healthy sleep cycle, so getting the right amount helps us to stay physically healthy. Less than four hours of deep sleep per night can impact our ability to heal and recuperate. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep is the phase when most dreaming takes place. Different theories exist about REM sleep, but it’s widely recognised that during this phase, neurotoxins are cleaned away to keep the brain healthy. Following periods of REM sleep, mood and memory improve. But if we’re worrying about unmet emotional needs – financial security, relationship or work issues – then dreaming increases to try to calm the brain down. So, if we’re spending a lot of time dreaming and not getting enough deep sleep, we’re likely to feel worse in the mornings.
• Learn and practise relaxation exercises
to help you to go to sleep more easily
• Address unmet emotional needs
• Have regular ‘going to bed’ and ‘getting
up’ times – and stick to them
• Cut down on caffeine in the second half of the day
• Avoid watching TV or internet surfing in the two hours before bed
• Avoid using smartphones in bed
See? No need to count sheep. Sleep well.