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Sleep - are you getting enough?

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To mark National Sleep Awareness Week, which takes place between 3-10 March 2013, here is Oliver Gray, author of ENERGISE YOU with some advice to help you achieve better sleep. 

Chronic sleep deprivation can do more than make you feel sleepy. Lack of sleep has many negative effects, especially for students. Lack of sleep can have a negative impact on your attention, alertness, concentration and memory.

Sleep affects so many areas of your life and getting good quality sleep is especially important when you are studying. But research of over 3,000 people, from energiseYou, finds the large majority of us score less than 50% on the drivers that help us achieve a good night’s sleep

I will take you through some facts relating to sleep and offer some simple steps you can take to achieve better quality sleep so that you awake feeling refreshed and energised.

How are you sleeping?

If you want to check how you score on the key drivers of sleep click here to complete my free online health and energy check.

Research suggests that a potent energy-zapping mix of factors, such as technology overload and work-life imbalance, is causing sleep deprivation leaving many of us working on empty and feeling pressured in all areas of life.

Good sleep is a habit. Not sleeping well can also become a habit. If you are not sleeping well it can take time to create a new good sleep habit. The time will depend on how bad your sleep problem is and your commitment to making positive changes.

While there's no magical formula for getting enough sleep and the mixture of studying and being out socialising can certainly disrupt our sleep pattern, here are my top seven habits to help you achieve better quality sleep:

1. Create a regular routine

-    Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time at least four-five days per week. Aim for early to bed, early to rise e.g. in bed by 11.15pm up by 7.30am.  If you feel you need more sleep, go to bed earlier but still get up at the same time.

2. Healthy nutrition

-      Avoid a big meal in the evening, e.g. pasta or curry. Also avoid refined carbohydrates, e.g. biscuits & sweets

-      Avoid going to bed on an empty stomach

-      Include foods in your diet that are high in Tryptophan (an amino acid that promotes sleep) e.g. almonds, turkey, bananas, spinach, soya products, oats and eggs.

3. Exercise

-      Exercise for at least 30 minutes per day. This could include fast walking. Morning exercise is best, but if you exercise in the evening you need more calming exercise such as light cardio, light resistance work, Yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates.

4. The perfect sleeping environment

-      Keep your bedroom dark, cool (if necessary, window slightly open), clean, clutter-free and quiet (wear soft ear plugs if needed).

5. Creating positive associations to sleep

-      Keep your bed for sleep, reading, listening to relaxation music and sex.  The mind and body will then create a positive association with only these things and the bed.

6. Calming yourself ready sleep

-      Use the evening to calm your mind and body down from the day’s activities and stimulation. Relax before sleep by having a warm bath, reading, having a massage from your partner or listening to relaxing music or meditation. Most importantly, wind down 30 minutes before sleep.

7. Bed, pillow and duvet

-      Ensure you have a good bed and pillow and that your duvet is the right tog for the time of year, e.g. light in the summer, medium in the spring and autumn and heavy in the winter.

The secret to great sleep in 2013 – FREE webinar

To mark National Sleep Awareness Week we will be holding a free 30-minute webinar, The secret to great sleep in 2013.

This is being held on the 6 March 2013, at 12pm. Places are limited so you will need to register in advance – please click here for more information.

Within this webinar I will cover:

- The benefits of great sleep
- Why your habits are the key to your sleep
- The top seven habits to avoid for great sleep
- The top seven best habits for great sleep

Register for the webinar here

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