10 tips to achieve restful sleep
by Kate Cook, author of The Corporate Wellness Bible
According to the BBC, 25% of the UK population experience problems with their sleep. At work, this can cause problems in terms of alertness (obviously) and knock on issues with stress. One third of people in the UK are classed as insomniacs, which includes those who can’t get to sleep as well as those waking in the night or waking early. Tiredness can lead to a vicious cycle in terms of reaching for caffeine (and issues with anxiety from caffeine), reaching for sugary snacks to try and pick up energy (not the right thing in the long term!) and even increasing alcohol consumption.
If you are suffering from insomnia here are my favourite top 10 tips for a restful night:
1. Don’t watch TV in the bedroom or have any other electrical equipment in the bedroom. Switch your phone on to airport mode and the do not disturb function;
2. Don’t have the clock where you can see it! If you don’t know the time you can’t fret about how many hours you have until the alarm goes off. Let go of having to know;
3. Make sure your room is sufficiently darkened at night (for the production of a hormone called melatonin, important in the sleep cycle);
4. Try moving your bedroom into a different configuration;
5. Don’t let your room get too warm, and sleep with a window open if there is no security risk;
6. Breathe! Learn mindfulness, a powerful technique to counter the stress cycle;
7. Try the Pzizz app. Designed by sleep experts to break the non-sleep cycle;
8. Avoid foods that contain an amino acid called tyramine (amino acids are the building blocks of protein). Some foods that contain tyramine are red wine, cheese, ham, raspberries, avocado and nuts;
9. Eat foods that convert into the hormone serotonin from the amino acid tryptophan (best consumed with a small amount of carbohydrate like brown rice – turkey, cottage cheese and eggs amongst other sources;
10. Cut down (or eliminate) caffeine. Remember caffeine can stay in the system for at least 6 hours – even if you think it doesn’t affect you, it probably does!
And a couple of bonus tips for you too:
Bonus one: Remember we haven’t always slept in the pattern we do today – apparently in the Middle Ages people would get up after a few hours, have a party, then go back to sleep. After four hours, much of the restorative benefits of sleep are received – it’s mostly us getting in a state about not sleeping that causes the stress, anxiety and worry.
Bonus two: Try and eat earlier so that your digestive system is not struggling and stopping you sleeping.
Kate Cook is one of the UK’s top Wellness and Nutrition experts and is leading a campaign to promote wellness in UK corporations. For more information please visit Kate’s website or email Richard Burton to enquire about The Corporate Wellness Bible.