By sleepcounciladmin on November 29, 2012
So who watched BBC1’s TV show Goodnight Britain last night?
Wasn’t it interesting? I really felt sorry for Gwen who so desperately wanted a good night’s sleep and Sheila, the lady who baked in the middle of the night – wow, how much clutter and gadgetry did she have in her bedroom? Plus it was a good job that the really heavy snorer, Paul, was monitored, as he stops breathing 20-30 times a night, sometimes for as long as 25 seconds!
For those who didn’t tune in, the show is a two-part series that looks at five of the worst UK sleepers – suffering from some of the nation’s biggest sleep disorders – and tonight sees treatment plans being put in place by sleep experts Dr Kirstie Anderson and Dr Jason Ellis to help all five overcome their sleep issues.
Sleep disorders affect many people – whether it’s snoring, sleep walking, insomnia or sleep apnoea – so if you feel you have a serious problem seek medical advice.
For the vast majority of poor sleepers, however, just making some simple improvements to their bedtime routine and environment will boost sleep quality.
Here’s our top tips:
- Keep regular hours. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time, all the time, will programme your body to sleep better.
- Create a restful sleeping environment. Your bedroom should be kept for rest and sleep and it should be neither too hot, nor too cold; and as quiet and dark as possible. Check out https://www.sleepcouncil.org.uk/perfect-sleep-environment/ for ways to create the ideal environment for sleep.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable. It’s difficult to get deep, restful sleep on one that’s too soft, too hard, too small or too old.
- Take more exercise. Regular, moderate exercise such as swimming or walking can help relieve the day’s stresses and strains. But not too close too bedtime or it may keep you awake!
- Cut down on stimulants such as caffeine in tea or coffee – especially in the evening. They interfere with falling asleep and prevent deep sleep. Have a hot milky drink or herbal tea instead.
- Don’t over-indulge. Too much food or alcohol, especially late at night, just before bedtime, can play havoc with sleep patterns. Alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, but will interrupt your sleep later on in the night.
- Don’t smoke. Yes, it’s bad for sleep, too: smokers take longer to fall asleep, wake more often and often experience more sleep disruption.
- Try to relax before going to bed. Have a warm bath, listen to some quiet music, do some yoga – all help to relax both the mind and body. Your doctor may be able to recommend a helpful relaxation tape, too.
- Deal with worries or a heavy workload by making lists of things to be tackled the next day.
- If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing (not cooking!! Take note Sheila!) until you feel sleepy again – then go back to bed.
Did you watch the show? What did you think? If you didn’t, you can catch it on the BBC iPlayer here.