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The Importance of Sleep: Our Top Tips

We spend about one-third of our lives asleep so it’s no wonder sleep is essential for our mental and physical health. Science shows that people who sleep for seven hours a night are healthier and live longer, proving that sleep really is the best meditation. Less than seven hours of quality sleep can not only lead to irritability but can compromise our immune system, lead to memory loss and weight gain, increase the risk of chronic diseases, affect our reflexes and decision making skills and cause slip-ups at work. At study conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School found that insomnia is responsible for 274,000 workplace accidents and errors each year in the USA alone, adding up to $31 billion in extra costs, after interviewing 10,000 people.

With the reality of a 24 hour healthcare service it's no wonder a growing number of healthcare workers are suffering from chronic sleep deprivation and fatigue. So what to do? Believe it or not, you are not doomed to toss and turn! Grab your pillow and read our simple tips for a better sleep:

Skip your afternoon Caffeine habit.
It’s a no-brainer, drinking coffee or tea before bed won’t do you any favours. However you should also keep an eye on your afternoon drinks as caffeine can stay in your system much longer than you think

Take a Nap
There is nothing that a nap can’t fix. A little snooze can help lift your spirits and can boost your memory, alertness and job performance. A NASA survey found a higher measure of alertness in pilots after just a 40-minute nap, and according to the Harvard Men’s Health Watch a 20 minute snooze has been shown to perk up shift workers.

Make sure you wind down.
It’s important to wind down and help your brain go in to neutral. Try more relaxing activities an hour or so before heading to bed, like taking a bath. By taking a warm bath (not hot!) your body will reach a temperature that’s ideal for rest and will help you fall asleep more quickly. However be aware that a hot bath might make it harder for you to drift off as it will raise your body temperature too high making it more difficult for you to reach a sound slumber.

Set the mood
Bright light is one of the biggest triggers to our brains that it’s time to be awake so it’s no wonder that bright light too close to bedtime can make it hard to fall asleep. By dimming the lights before bed, your body knows it’s time to wind down. When it’s time to sleep make sure the room is dark, as even the smallest glow can disrupt your shut eye.  

Unplug
Try disconnecting an hour before bed. Turn the screens off and leave all gadgets out of reach to avoid the temptation of the infamous ‘one last check’. We can guarantee that by having tech-free zzz’s you’ll wake up feeling ready and refreshed. You won’t even have to press snooze!

If you still can’t sleep…
If you still can’t sleep, get out of bed. Don’t spend too much time in bed trying to get to sleep – it’s counterintuitive. Instead get out of bed and do something quiet and unstimulating until you feel sleepy.

 

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