Getting a good night’s sleep is important to some people. For me, a decent night’s sleep is the difference between the nice me and a gremlin: less than nine hours and I turn into a monster. But when it comes to sleep, everyone is different. Some people can get away with as little as four hours and others need up to 11. Both, and anything in between, is considered normal. After all, Margaret Thatcher used to run a country on just four hours a night. And Napoleon built an empire on the same amount.
Research shows that sleep-deprivation can leave you grumpy, irritable, forgetful, and groggy and has a major impact on the brain. Getting a good night’s sleep is as important as a good diet and exercise and has an impact on both your physical and mental well-being.
If you’re feeling sleepy or tired during the day, experts say this is an indication that you are not getting enough sleep. And when it comes to the root of a bad night’s sleep, try thinking about how much coffee or tea you’re drinking and avoid caffeinated drinks close to bedtime. It’s also recommended that you avoid large meals and alcohol for the same reason. And vigorous exercise close to bedtime is another no-no. Another common reason for poor sleep is not being able to ‘switch-off’ thanks to busy modern lives, cell phones and laptops. So make your bedroom a place of relaxation. If you use your cell as your alarm clock, be sure you switch it off, don’t take your laptop into the bedroom and don’t check your emails before bedtime.
Here are some more ways to sleep better:
- Try a relaxing warm shower or bath – not too hot or this will have the opposite effect. You could also try some oils such as lavender to help relaxation.
- Switch off the TV 30 minutes before you want to go to sleep.
- If your mind is racing, try writing down what is bothering you and tackle it the next day.
- Turn off and put down your mobile and don’t check any emails before going to sleep.
- Have a warm milky drink or herbal tea but avoid any caffeine as this is a stimulant.
- Make sure your bedroom is between 16 and 18 degrees as this is the ideal room temperature for sleep.
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