Dreaming of a good night sleep?

Psycotherapist Mark Newey gives his top tips

Stressed or anxious, finding it hard to get that much-needed beauty sleep? According to the latest research¹, more than half the UK population has struggled with sleep during lockdown. Top psychotherapist, Mark Newey, explains why and also offers us his top tips to a better night’s sleep.

Lockdown has been stressful, especially if you have money worries; anxiety is never a good bedfellow! However, if you follow these top tips it will help alleviate stress, make you relax and aid a good night’s sleep.

  1. Pre-lockdown people were already struggling to get a good night’s sleep. One of the main problems was the electric light bulb! Before electricity, our sense of daytime and night time was very simple: we went to bed when it got dark and got up when it got light. That’s how humans would have behaved for millions of years. So, with we need to mimic habits and behaviours to prepare us for bed.
  2. Start by getting into a good routine. Get up and go to bed at the same time of day, and that includes the weekend; routine is vital for good sleeping patterns.  
  3. Don’t snooze the alarm: get out of bed. If you struggle with this, put the alarm at the other side of the room! Try not to use your mobile as an alarm, it can often disrupt your night’s sleep and can be too much of a distraction.
  4. Avoid coffee or caffeinated drinks after 4pm: coffee has a long afterlife and needs to be out of your system before you go to bed. Also, make sure you finish eating by 7pm: your body needs to be in digestion mode before you go to bed for you to relax deeply.
  5. Ensure you take no exercise after 7pm. It takes the body three hours to come down after exercise, so remember it’s no good going to bed with your heart racing.
  6. Turn off screens, mobile phones, games consoles etc an hour before heading up the stairs; this is really important because computers and phone screens play havoc with our brainwaves.
  7. Make sure your bedroom is suitable for relaxation. Create a comfy space for sleeping, make sure your bed is comfortable: not too soft or to hard!  Avoid placing a TV or work in the bedroom. The bedroom is for sleeping.
  8. Enjoy a nice relaxing bath before bedtime and add some essence of lavender, proven to aid rest and relaxation.
  9. Avoid alcohol as a sleep aid; it doesn’t work. It’s a stimulant. Even though it may seem to knock you out, the stimulant kicks in after a few hours and destroys your sleep.
  10. Avoid naps of more than 20 minutes during the day, it will take the edge off tiredness and you’ll find it hard to fall asleep.     

To discover more about how to look after your own mental wellbeing visit www.headucate.me. The site also offers free online advice to help people with their mental wellbeing, to sign-up, simply visit www.headucate.me/cv19-free-self-help-resources

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