Nod­ding off . . .

Are you get­ting enough of the right kind of sleep?

EADT Suffolk - - Inside -

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.

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