When was the last time you got the recommended amount of shut-eye?
Not getting enough sleep doesn’t just leave you tired and grouchy the next day, over time it can also lead to a variety of other negative health issues.
In fact, research shows that lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, forgetfulness, dehydrated skin, lack of motivation and decreased sex drive. Grim.
If sleep deprivation is ongoing, it all mounts up to sleep debt, accumulated over time. The good news is that, with a little expert guidance, it’s easy to get back on the right track.
But how? We asked Cork’s resident sleep expert Lucy Wolfe to weigh in.
A Paediatric Sleep Consultant (birth- six years), Lucy is the author of The Baby Sleep Solution and a guru in all things restful for people of all ages.
She’s just launched a Bed and Body Sleep Spray and Relaxing Rub (€19.99 from pharmacies and online here), both made with relaxing essential oils chosen for their anti-anxiety and stress-relieving benefits.
These are her top three tips for better sleep:
1. “Have a regular wake time. Bedtime starts the moment that you wake up so regularising your start time is key to being able to go to sleep at bedtime with ease. It’s important that you have the same wake time seven days a week. This can be hard to commit to, but getting up and starting the day at the same time and exposing yourself to bright and natural light can set the tone for tonight’s bedtime. It also ensures that each day you have enough “wake time” before you want to go to sleep
2. Have a corresponding bedtime at the same time every night. Regularity is significant when helping to underpin positive sleep practices- complement this with a pre-sleep routine in your sleep-friendly bedroom (cool, comfortable and dimly lit) to send the right messages to your brain and to adequately relax yourself as you welcome sleep. You already know that, ideally, we need to stop using electronic media an hour or so before bedtime. Try to keep your bedroom a tech-free space
3. Keep an eye on your diet. Eat at regular intervals daily, avoid large or heavy meals two or three hours before bedtime, avoid stimulants such as caffeine too late in the day and also alcohol as it may make you feel sleepy, but impair the quality of your sleep overnight. Some foods that do encourage sleep include wholewheat, turkey, warm milk and banana.
It takes time for your efforts to emerge, but a great night time sleep is powerful for mood, your health and overall wellbeing.”