A recent study found that increases in the quality and quantity of our sleep were associated with positive improvements in our health and wellbeing. This echoes similar findings from a Sleep Council survey that found a good night’s sleep left people feeling happier, more positive, and more productive the next day. This tells us that along with the general focus and recommendations of the importance on eating the right foods and staying active, we should also be promoting the benefits and strategies for a good night’s sleep to our employees.
But over 25% of people experience poor quality or disrupted sleep on a regular basis, with 33% of us only sleeping for 5-6 hours a night – less than the 7-9 hours many sleep experts recommend for good health.
The biggest cause of a poor night’s sleep was stress, with around 50% of respondents indicating this as a reason. One of the better predictors of a good night’s sleep is regular exercise, which funnily enough is also the best way to naturally reduce stress.
The lack of a regular bedtime routine is also another key factor.
Here are some key tips for creating a bedtime or pre-sleep routine an hour before sleep:
⁃ Write down a to-do list for the next day, or a list of stresses/worries to transfer them from your mind
⁃ Stay off your laptop/phone/i-pad to avoid distractions or looking at work late at night
⁃ Wind down with a relaxing bath
⁃ Practice yoga, muscle relaxation or stretching exercises to help relax the body and mind
⁃ Read a good book instead of watching TV in the bedroom
Keeping a sleep diary of what works and what doesn’t work for you too can also help to identify any lifestyle changes you could make to help you get a better night’s rest.
Cutting back on your daily caffeine intake, and trying to stay away from it in the evening is also a good idea. Keeping an eye on your alcohol intake is also important, as this can affect your ability to stay asleep during the second half of the night.
Lastly, try and keep your bedroom as cool as possible – the ideal temperature for sleep is 16-18 degrees.
For more information on creating healthier sleep habits, and the benefits of doing so, the Sleep Council and NHS websites are a great resource, or for more personalised advice and lifestyle assessments please contact the HP team. You can request a call back or contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or 0800 170 1777.