top of page

Sleep

Updated: May 3

The purpose of sleep

This is very complex, but in a nutshell sleep allows:

  • The removal of the normal toxins that build up in the brain

  • Rest for the body and mind so that you can concentrate the next day and be energised.

  • Formation of memories through the processing of information whilst we asleep

  • Regulation of the immune system.

From this list you can see the importance of sleep to all of us, but particularly with those suffering from memory problems, poor concentration, tiredness, autoimmune and painful inflammatory conditions.

 

How much sleep

A minimum of 7-9 hours. It varies between people. Find what finds you most energised in the morning.

 

Research has shown that lack of Sleep can predispose you to the following diseases

  • Cardiovascular i.e. high blood pressure

  • Diabetes

  • Depression

  • Obesity – when tired we eat to gain energy

  • Memory problems


Types of Sleep

  • Non Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep - is the initial deeper sleep when your blood pressure and pulse and breathing all slow down to conserve energy and rest the body [source].

  • REM Sleep – The blood pressure and pulse start to rise during this sleep to prepare you for waking up [source].

 

 

How to improve your sleep


Try this

  • Tell yourself that you must not go to sleep and try to keep your eyes open, but blink normally. After a while you should have an irresistible urge to close your eyes and drift off.

  • Or stop trying to make yourself go to sleep, as you can't force yourself to sleep. Instead break the frustration by getting up and having a read or making a decaffeinated drink.


Bedtime

Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

 

Relaxation technique

If you are struggling to sleep, don’t think of worries or plans for the next day. Try concentrating on relaxed breathing. Or try the sleep relaxation recording here.

 

Screens

As the sun comes up in the morning it stimulates the body to produce cortisol, which wakes and energises you. As the light fades, your body produces melatonin which makes the body drift into sleep and stay asleep. The blue light emitted by the screens of smartphones, iPads, TVs and laptops inhibits the production of melatonin. So don’t look at a screen within an hour of going to bed. Although some screens have a night mode that emits orange rather than blue light, the activity of reading information will stimulate the brain.

 

Foods before bedtime

Kiwifruit have also been shown to contain melatonin (24 µg/g) which helps you get to sleep and get unbroken, quality sleep [source].

 

Drinks before bedtime

Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol before bed, as they are stimulants that make you feel more awake, and irritate the bladder. Drink decaffeinated drinks in the evening.

Don’t drink just before going to bed as you may have to get up for the toilet in the night, which will break your sleep rhythm.

 

Room and body temperature

Keep your bedroom on the cooler side, as when your body temperature lowers, it stimulates the body to sleep. Have a warm bath an hour or two before bed, as this also cools the body.

 

Pillow

Try one big fat pillow, preferably feather if you are not allergic to them. Or perhaps an orthopaedic, shaped pillow. Have your pillow pulled forward under your chin, rather than square to the wall behind.

 

Mattress

The life of a mattress is 7-10 years. The best mattresses are pocket sprung with a soft top. Some people like memory foam, but they are warmer. Definitely lie on the mattress to try it out in the shop before buying. If your mattress is too hard, place a duvet on top of the mattress to soften it. If you think your mattress may be contributing to poor sleep, then try a different bed in the house to see if that makes a difference before buying a mattress.

 

Partner snoring

 If your partners snores, then sleep in a different room to them or use earplugs.

 

Sleep apnoea

Sleep apnoea is a serious condition that must be investigated by your doctor.

Symptoms include loud snoring, frequent waking, stopping breathing for a few seconds, also making choking, gasping or snorting noises.


Complications of Sleep apnoea include:

  • high blood pressure.

  • a higher chance of having a stroke.

  • type 2 diabetes.

  • heart disease.

  • depression or mood changes.

  • a higher chance of having a serious accident caused by tiredness, such as a car accident.

  • difficulty concentrating at work or school.

57 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page