Getting some high quality, regular shut-eye is pretty much essential to our health and wellbeing – but do we really get enough sleep?
As we wander tired-eyed into the New Year, it would be fair to say that most of us have not had the most sleep-strewn festive periods so far.
In fact it is believed that an estimated 21million people in the UK might not be getting enough sleep.
And the effects of scrimping on slumber don’t exactly make for soothing bed time reading. Other than the obligatory dark circles, sleep deprivation can have an impact on our body’s immunity to disease, our emotional wellbeing and even our physical health.
The results of a study by a team at the University of Bristol and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar have suggested that if you need a lie in at weekends to make up for a lack of sleep in the week, you may be at risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
The sleeping habits of 522 people showed that those losing sleep on weekdays were more likely to develop the conditions as it is thought that throwing the body clock out of sync can disrupt the natural rhythm of hormones in the body.
So with the New Year just a few days away, we’re suggesting that you make sleeping better in 2016 one of your resolutions for the coming year.
With that in mind here are 10 tips to improve your sleeping habits.
Everything from avoid taking daytime naps and avoiding watching TV before bed to engaging in regular exercise and replacing caffeinated and alcoholic drinks in your diet with hot milky drinks can help to make a difference.
10 ways to help you sleep better in 2016
Always get up at the same time – even at the weekend: It might seem like you need a lie in to make up for the sleep you haven’t got, but to break a cycle of sleeping problems you need to train your body into a good sleeping pattern.
Avoid catnaps during the day: They will only make it harder to get into good sleeping habits.
Replace caffeine and alcohol with hot milky drinks: Alcohol and caffeine can both disrupt sleep. If you are having trouble cutting out caffeine avoid having it in the afternoons and try gradually reducing your intake.
Unwind with a hot bath and lavender bubbles: Both will aid sleep by helping you feel more relaxed.
Exercise during the day: Exercising at night will actually make you more awake and you’ll find it harder to get to sleep.
Get to bed at the same time every night: It will help your body prepare itself for sleep.
Make your bedroom a shrine to sleep: No TV, no smart phones.
Alleviate your worries: Try writing them down before you go to bed.
Traditional herbal remedies: Valerian root has been used for centuries due to its natural sedative effect. It is found in products like Kalms Night tablets.
Don’t lie there frustrated: If you can’t sleep, get up and do something non strenuous for a while.