Sleep

Advice and information on getting a good night's sleep.

We all know how much better we feel after a good night’s sleep, but at the moment many of us are finding it hard to get the recommended seven to nine hours. The good news is that there are steps we can all take to improve our sleep. 

Restful Environment 

  • A good mattress is an essential part of getting good rest. It needs to provide you with the right sort of support.  The National Bed Federation recommend getting a new mattress every seven years 
  • Creating a pleasant space to sleep in also makes a big difference – keeping the space tidy and uncluttered helps. 
  • Adequate blinds and/or curtains are important in stopping any unwanted light disrupting your sleep, such as streetlights or passing car headlights. Blackout blinds can be a great investment. 
  • Keeping the bedroom at around 16-18 degrees is ideal for promoting good sleep, and sticking to bedding and sleepwear in natural materials, such as cotton, will help too. 
  • Earplugs are handy for avoiding being disturbed by noise, whether that’s a snoring partner, traffic, or barking dogs. Routine 

Routine

  • It might be tempting to have a coffee to keep you going, but avoiding caffeine for at least six hours before you plan to go to bed helps ensure it won’t get in the way of getting a good rest 
  • Instead, making sure you get lots of light (ideally daylight) when you wake up 
  • Regular sleeping patterns are really important. Always try and sleep for the same amount of time (ideally 7-9 hours), and ensure you give yourself plenty of time to wind down before bed. 
  • Oversleeping when you’re off work might be tempting, but it disrupts the routine and isn’t helpful in the long run. It’s much better to get enough sleep on a daily basis 
  • Naps are fine if you really feel like you need them, but sleep for no longer than 40 minutes to get the best from your rest. 
  • Eating breakfast soon after waking sets you up with energy for your day ahead, and avoiding big meals in the two hours before bed helps avoid being overfull interfering with your sleep. Oatcakes and cheese make a great snack if you’re hungry in this time. 

Relaxation

  • When it’s time to wind down, avoiding bright light is helpful, so it’s a good idea to keep the lights low. This helps your body prepare for sleep. 
  • A warm bath or shower are a great way to encourage yourself to feel sleepy 
  • Avoiding screen time or any activity that’s too stimulating, like going for a run, will help you wind down  
  • However, activities such as gentle yoga, breathing exercises and meditation can really help you prepare for sleep 
  • If you find your mind is full and you’re having trouble switching off, why not jot down any tasks or worries with paper and pencil. That way, you can forget about your to do list, and save thinking through any problems until you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them 

For more information, visit https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/sleep/ 

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