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Importance of Sleep

A whole month dedicated to improving a good night’s sleep… It’s National Bed Month right the way through March. Set up by The Sleep Council, an advisory organisation that raises awareness of the importance of a good night's sleep to your health, this month aims to encourage everybody to get a… good night's sleep!

We all need to realise the huge health benefits. Our thinking and decision-making is much more efficient when we're properly refreshed. Conversely, it's much harder to do tasks and make informed choices when we're tired. Plus, we all get irritable and frustrated much more easily…

There's also much more chance of staying healthy and fighting off viruses – our immune system is strengthened and boosted while we sleep. A sound night's sleep – and sleep experts generally recommend at least seven hours, but nine hours is better – will also leave you with much healthier looking skin, eyes and hair.

Here's some superb soporific advice for ensuring you get a sound sleep:

  • Avoid bright lights before and at bedtime – and that means put your "quiet" lamps on in your lounge and bedroom as bedtime approaches. In addition, be aware that looking at a television, computer, tablet or mobile phone can trick your body into thinking it's still daytime, and so not encourage sleepiness. Put the screens if you can to a much dimmer brightness or set to such as "Night Shift" on an iPhone or iPad. Best of all turn them off!
  • Have the room as dark as possible. Consider blackout curtains or wearing an eye mask.
  • Meditation will help calm your mind and body. If you've never meditated or need some help, there's plenty of videos on such as YouTube. Regardless, gentle soothing music will help you relax and nod off too. You could as well add some sleep-inducing smells into the air, such as lavender.
  • Get comfortable! Make sure bedding is fresh, cosy and soft. Consider buying a new mattress too.
  • Remember that some colours such as yellows, reds and oranges do not encourage sleep – so decorate your bedroom accordingly. Purples, blues and greens are the best sleep-inducing colours.
  • A temperature of 16-18°C is best in the bedroom. Too cold or too hot means your sleep will suffer.
  • Don't worry about your work and life problems in bed. It's never a good time or place for this. Have a good night's sleep, then your reasoning and choices will be much more clear in the morning.

As well, we can help – a good session at the gym a few hours before bedtime will definitely help you climb into bed feeling like you need a decent sleep. (It's also much less likely this way that your tummy will flop on to the mattress first when you roll over…!)