Sleep Awareness Week

It is sleep awareness week this week 1-7th October. To get involved in this great campaign from The Sleep Health Foundation, we have decided to discuss some of the biggest causes of sleep disruption and what you can do about them.

  1. Caffeine: We know everyone wants to continue drinking their morning coffee, but before you do, think about the reasons why you want it. Has it become a habit, are you addicted to the caffeine? You might find that you think you "need" it to function when a healthier alternative may have similar effects to what you are looking for. Avoid caffeine at least 2 hours before bed, this includes soft drink, teas with caffeine in them and chocolate! Caffeine free alternatives: Green tea (decaffeinated), Warm water with honey and lemon, matcha, tumeric or beetroot lattes or even chai tea lattes. Remember that coffee has around 2-3 times the amount of caffeine as tea, so think again when choosing your warm beverage. 

  2. Worrying or anxiety: Constant worrying at night can seriously effect your sleep patterns and your health overall. Sometimes the biggest worry is that you may not get to sleep, causing insomnia. Try meditating before bed, clearing out all the thoughts that pop up by jotting them down in a journal or talking with someone you trust such as a family member, friend or mental health professional. 

  3. Alcohol: The sleep health foundation says that "using alcohol for relaxation may lead to worse sleep". It can be tricky because although it may feel like you fall asleep easier and faster, you will be more likely to wake up in the middle of a night and have a restless sleep. If you find yourself doing this regularly and only feeling worse the following day, try drinking 2 big glasses of water before bed or a cup of chamomile tea with a little bit of honey. If you must have alcohol, try to have it earlier in the night, not before bed.

  4. Food: Eating a healthy diet will aid in better sleep patterns. It is suggested to keep to a regular eating schedule each day to allow for consistency in the body. Ensure you leave around 2-3 hours after eating before going to sleep. Really rich and spice filled meals may cause you to a restless sleep, so try to limit these to only a few meals per week or none if you find it really disrupts your sleep. 

  5. Smoking: Nicotine in cigarettes is a stimulant, so smoking before bed is not recommended. Try to have your last cigarette 2 hours before bed or give up smoking all together, you will improve not only you sleep but your general health in many ways. 

If you find that you are still struggling with sleep and it is taking a toll on your daily functioning in life, please seek medical advice and assistance from a health professional.