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IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY -LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW TO BANISH YOUR INSOMNIA PART 2…

Last Sunday I wrote about The Daily Mail which was running an exclusive series about how to beat insomnia with renowned consultant neurologist and sleep expert Professor Guy Leschziner who told the Mail that the pandemic has been driving another global health crisis – an epidemic of sleep problems.

On Monday they wrote an article with Ten Steps to a Peaceful Nights Sleep which was set up as ten simple rules to get your body ready for a good nights sleep.

  1. Set a wake-up time, even set this at weekends as the brain loves routine and will ensure you have a solid bedtime and wake time.
  2. Exercise, as daily exercise will help tire your body and send more oxygen and endorphin-rich blood to your brain, which will boost your mood and leave you less anxious.
  3. Get outdoors, even if its just a short walk. The key, apparently, is to absorb natural light during daylight hours as it tells the cells in our body that it is daytime, then it recognises that when the light dims it is night-time.
  4. Eat less before bed as a rich carbohyydrate meal in the evening can cause uncomfortable acid reflux and can also produce more insulin to mop up the sugar from your blood. This can then have a knock on effect and encourages rebound low blood sugar at night which then releases stress hormones and can be detrimental to sleep.
  5. Pack in your afternoon cuppa as caffeine after lunch keeps you awak. Half of the caffeine you drink stays in your system for up to six hours so keep it for the mornings only.
  6. Try and meditate as any sort of relaxation technique will help to settle your mind and help you sleep.
  7. Avoid alcohol in the evening as you will get drink-induced slumber which is not a good quality sleep.
  8. If you haven’t already done so then GIVE UP smoking.
  9. Another important one we all should know is to no have our screens on at night. Light exposure at night inhibits the secretion of the hormones melatonin. This can delay your sleep phase making you sleep later and wake later.
  10. Do not spend time in your bedroom unless you are going to bed to sleep. Keep the lights low until you pull the quilt up then turn all the lights out.

In the final article from The Daily Mail they had a quiz you could take to find out if you could have a hidden sleep condition. Check it out here.

Do Not Age (DNA) remind us that sleep is important for mental wellbeing as well as physical. Those lacking in sleep are more likely to be overweight, have disrupted appetites, lose empathy, have more inflammation, have a low immune system, be depressed and suicidal, have impaired brain function and are more susceptible to heart problems. Those sleeping for less than 7 hours per night have up to 26% higher risk of death.

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IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW TO BANISH YOUR INSOMNIA…

The Daily Mail is running an exclusive series about how to beat insomnia with renowned consultant neurologist and sleep expert Professor Guy Leschziner who told the Mail that the pandemic has been driving another global health crisis – an epidemic of sleep problems.

Anxiety over Covid has caused an epidemic of sleeplessness. The professor wrote how extreme forms of insomnia can cause depression, type 2 diabetes, heart problems and even Alzheimer’s.

This is a four part series which started on Saturday and which listed six golden rules for better sleep –

  1. Sleeping pills can cause more problems than they solve. In actual fact they may only get you an extra 30 minutes’ sleep!!!!
  2. Sleeping less could help you sleep better. If you limit the time allowed in bed it can strengthen the brain’s drive to sleep when you’re there.
  3. Lie-ins and daytime napping can disrupt night-time sleep ( the former upsets your wake/sleep cycle, the later cuts ito your desire to sleep later). whoops looks like I have had that wrong for a long time.
  4. Over-the-counter CBD products are not the answer!
  5. Beds are for sleep and sex only. Apparently if you have not drifted off within 15 minutes, you should get out of bed and go into a different room, to ensure your bedroom is associated with sleep and not wakefulness.
  6. Sleep trackers may actually worsen your sleep as the information they provide could be very inaccurate and may increase your anxiety which will then keep you awake.

All of the above was be explained in more detail in today’s Mail on Sunday then continues on Monday and Tuesday. In Saturday’s Mail you can take an insomnia test to see what is disturbing your night’s sleep (it is VERY interesting).

In today’s Mail on Sunday it goes on to write that sleep deprivation can reset the brain. And exercising late or working in bed make nodding off challenging. They also write that there is a hormone tablet that may help for a while. Although drugs should never be your first port of call as they can lead to troubling withdrawal effects and anxiety. They write that no drug or even herbal tea should be your first port of call. But one relatively safe, temporary option is melatonin, a manmade version of the ‘sleepy’ hormone that occurs naturally in the brain to help control sleep patterns. The body actually produces melatonin just after it gets dark and continues through the night. You can only get Melatonin on prescription in the UK but it is available over the counter in the US.

I will follow up with another post after the articles on Monday and Tuesday in the Daily Mail.