The power of sleep
I recently lectured to medical students and psychiatry students at Leeds university on the power of sleep. Sleep really is a saviour. There is nothing truer that the saying that the bridge between hope and despair is a good nights sleep. I would say that in literally every talk I host 80-90% of attendees tell me they have problems sleeping. Find out more about to help your sleep in my blog;
Blue light from our home lighting, TV screens, computers, laptops, ipads and phones actually prevents the production of melatonin, alongside constant stimulation from our devices means that our brains don’t have the opportunity to calm down and prepare to sleep.
If you could do one thing to improve your wellbeing this festive period it would be to focus on sleep.
To help yourself get a good night’s sleep:
- Set all screens to night time settings from 8pm to reduce blue light exposure or try wearing blue light blocking glasses in the evening (very inexpensive from amazon)
- Avoid alcohol before bed and limit any caffeine intake after midday (and preferably avoid completely all caffeine impacts sleep).
- Alcohol reduces our REM restorative sleep and depletes us of important energy producing nutrients B vitamins and Magnesium leaving us tired. Aim to have alcohol free days and take a B complex and magnesium supplement when overindulging.
- Aim to follow a soothing bedtime routine, such as having a warm bath with Epsom Salts and lavender or listening to soothing music.
- Once in bed, try 4-7-8 breath. Breath in for 4, hold for 7 and breath out for 8. This can help you move out of sympathetic ‘FIGHT or FLIGHT’ state by tapping into the bodily system responsible for rest and digestion and activate our parasympathetic nervous system.
- If you have difficulty sleeping, supplement 400mg of magnesium before bed, or try a sleep formula such as ;
- Follow good sleep hygiene, ensuring your bedroom is quiet and dark and you are comfortable. Also turn off mobile phones and wi-fi connections at night. If necessary wear an eye mask and wax ear plugs to block out noise.
- If you find you frequently get up for the toilet and struggle to go back to sleep, try reducing liquids from 8pm to reduce night time urination.
- Try pre bedtime guided apps – try the free Insight Timer App. They have wonderful breathing and guided meditation from 2 mins upwards
- Try the CBT-I programme (app), designed by Stamford university based on cognitive behavioural therapy techniques