“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it.” – Richard Whatley
Sleep – it’s that word that can rumble emotions of relief, as well as those of desperation at the same time. It’s the most important part of finishing one day in preparation for the next; it gives your brain chance to rest and allows you body to fully recharge. Without it, things start to get very difficult for us, resulting in low productivity at work, less enthusiasm for life and often negative repercussions on those around you, such as children, partners and colleagues.
Many of us know all too well how it feels to lose even just one hour’s worth of sleep, and with the dark and cold mornings making it increasingly difficult to wake up, is it about time you adopted some of these techniques so you take charge of your day without the overbearing, weighing down feeling of exhaustion?
Let’s take a look at some of the symptoms of lack of sleep:
- Lack of concentration – this can manifest itself in a wide range of negative situations, from wrongly operating machinery to a complete stunt in many of the cognitive processes responsible for thinking and learning, dumbing us down
- A decimated sex drive – sleep researches found that men and women who suffer from lack of sleep also report low libidos and a decreased want to engage in sexual activities with their partners
- Depressed mood is also a common symptom
- Sleep loss can lead to serious health problems such as stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and more
With all of these things in mind, we decided to put together a list of tips to help you get a better night’s sleep. (This is not medical advice and anyone with a serious sleeping problem should contact their doctor).
1) Get into a routine – our bodies love routine, so it is a great idea to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. Before long, you will find yourself waking up automatically without an alarm. It may take a few nights to get into the pattern of things, but if you make sure that you don’t give in to sleep during the day, for example after dinner or when you get in from work, your sleep cycle should harmonise.
2) Create a sleep-friendly environment
TVs, smartphones and laptops are just a few of the distractions that can lead to an unfriendly environment for sleeping. People often watch television to help them sleep, but this prevents melatonin from being released, a chemical directly involved in bringing about sleep.
3) Develop a relaxing nightime routine
For us to be to sleep well on a night, it is important that we are relaxed. There are a variety of ways we can do this, such as, for example, taking a hot bath. This causes the muscles in your body to relax, making you feel comfortable and encouraging sleep. You can also work through every muscle in your body, tensing and intending to achieve a similar effect. If you plan to read, don’t do it from a backlit device as this will reduce melatonin production, so iPads and Kindles away!
4) Avoid caffeine at all costs
This may be a little bit more difficult than you think. The fast paced society in which we live has slowly and surely got us hooked on caffeine, just to keep us going. For some of us, all we drink is caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and fizzy drinks. Having just one of these a few hours before bed can disrupt your sleep immensely, so stick to water and avoid the pain and suffering of another sleepless night.
Don’t lay in bed worrying – this is just a waste of your time and it will only make you feel worse as you will be conscious of the fact that you can’t sleep. The best thing to do is get up and go and do something, such as read a book or get a glass of water. Simply having a walk around the house might be all it takes. Avoid stimulants like caffeine and tobacco, but do something that will relax you, then return to bed. It’s much better to run through your bedtime routine twice, rather than just laying there hoping you’ll drift off.
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